An upcoming merger of CORE Media Group and Endemol will result in American Idol and Big Brother being owned by the same parent company. From a Deadline.com exclusive:
21st Century Fox‘s proposed joint venture with private equity firm Apollo Global Management that would include the Shine Group, Endemol and CORE Media Group is moving full steam ahead with the implementation of the first step in the consolidation process. I’ve learned that starting today, CORE’s management operations will be absorbed into Endemol North America. As a result, CORE’s executive team, led by president Marc Graboff, will be leaving.
In other words, the company that owns American Idol, CORE media, will be absorbed by the much bigger outfit, Endemol, rendering Core’s executive team no longer necessary.
In the proposed partnership, Endemol is the 800-lb gorilla, and the decision to fold CORE into it was considered all but inevitable. It was a matter of scale — Endemol, which has 90 companies in over 30 countries, has 6-8 times the earnings of CORE. (Endemol’s revenues in 2012 were around $1.9 billion.) Top executives from Endemol, CORE and Shine, including Graboff, were involved in discussions over the past couple of months about what the structure of the joint venture should be. All parties agreed that it made the most sense for the administrative staff of CORE to be eliminated, with Endemol North America, whose infrastructure is larger and more established, taking over.
A little history:
Longtime NBC top business executive Graboff was brought in as president soon after Apollo bought CKX in 2011. At the time, CKX was a passive rights holding company with no ability to develop or produce television content and a music label dependent on two series, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, via CKX subsidiary and Simon Fuller-created 19 Entertainment. Under Graboff, CKX, renamed CORE in 2012, built infrastructure and transformed itself into a production company with 11 TV series in production and 40 others in active development.
I’m not sure what this merger means for American Idol and 19 Entertainment. Maybe nothing. But I have to wonder what the merger means for the recording and management arms, 19R and 19M respectively. Both seem like the odd ducks out in a company that has increasingly become about TV production.
In the meantime, maybe we’ll get an Idol/Big Brother crossover! How about an entire season of Big Brother comprised of American Idol alums? I’d watch that! Heh.