ITV plc announced today that it had acquired So Television, the independent production company behind hit entertainment and comedy programmes, including The Graham Norton Show and The Sarah Millican Television Programme.
ITV, via its wholly owned subsidiary ITV Studios Ltd, will pay an upfront cash consideration of £10m with a further cash payment contingent on So Television’s profit performance to 31 July 2016. The maximum total consideration payable is £17m.
So Television, set up by Graham Norton and Graham Stuart 12 years ago, focuses on comedy and entertainment shows, factual entertainment and drama. Earlier this year the BBC recommissioned one of the company’s main productions – The Graham Norton Show – through to 2014. The series is also distributed internationally and is broadcast in 100 other countries, including in peaktime on Channel Ten in Australia.
The acquisition fits with a key objective of ITV’s five year Transformation Plan – to create world class content for multiple platforms, free and pay, both in the UK and internationally.
Denise O’Donoghue, Managing Director, ITV Studios UK, said:
“So Television is known for its creative rigour and intense quality-control across its programming, whether that is its crown jewel, The Graham Norton Show, or its newer but no less brilliant The Sarah Millican Television Programme.
“Its programming presence on other channels is strategically terrific for ITV Studios, which has increased its output this year with new shows across the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky. I am really looking forward to having So as part of ITV Studios, working with Graham Stuart and his team to add even more value to this dynamic and successful production company.”
Kevin Lygo, Managing Director of ITV Studios, said:
“So Television and Graham Norton have been making high quality programmes for many years now. I believe that ITV Studios can bring scale to their ambitions and together we can continue to keep The Graham Norton Show at the top of its game and increase the amount of new programming in their production slate.
“This is an important acquisition for ITV Studios and demonstrates our strategy to increase our capability in the production of high quality television entertainment programming.”
Graham Norton said:
“So TV has been our baby for 12 years, so I’m thrilled that the ITV family has decided to take it under their wing and help it blossom.”
Graham Stuart said:
“We are incredibly excited to be starting a new chapter in the So story with ITV Studios. Now we have the chance to achieve what we’ve always wanted to in this industry but with real strength and inspiration behind us.”
Following the success of the first BBC2 series in the Spring, The Sarah Millican Television Programme has been recommissioned for a second run, which kicks off with a Christmas special. So Television also produces panel show Alexander Armstrong’s Big Ask for Dave, which was recommissioned earlier this year.