After FMA sale last year, Essential restarts drama division with Michelle Hardy

The move signals a return to the scripted market for Essential Media.

Essential Media Group (EMG) has announced the launch of Essential Scripted, a new international arm focused on producing premium international scripted content for the small and big screen.

Headquartered in Sydney and Los Angeles, its announcement signals a return to the scripted market for Essential Media following the sale of its drama catalogue to FremantleMedia in September 2017 and the merger with Quail Entertainment in April 2018.

Essential Media previously produced internationally acclaimed series such as Rake (ABC), Doctor Doctor (Nine Network), The Principal (SBS), Jack Irish (ABC) and the Disney movie Saving Mr Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

Quail Entertainment’s previous scripted productions include the ABC Australia comedies At Home with Julia, Wednesday Night Fever and Timothy.

The move follows the recent announcement of the acquisition of the EMG by Canada-based Kew Media Group.

Essential Scripted will be led by CEO Chris Hilton and Chief Content Officer Greg Quail. The company has appointed Emmy Award-winning producer Michelle Hardy (#7DaysLater) as vice president of scripted, Australia, while Simonne Overend will continue in her role as vice president of scripted, US.

Chris Hilton

Essential Media has also signed a first look deal with Hardy White Pictures, a joint venture between Michelle Hardy and director, Erin White (Sando).

Chris Hilton said, “We’re relishing the prospect of our return to drama production in Australia and the USA at a time when the opportunities have never been greater. We have an exciting new slate and with the support of our new partners at Kew we’re looking forward to bringing more premium scripted content to audiences around the world.”

The Essential Media Group (EMG) is the newly formed international content company from the merger of two leading independent production companies and joint venture partners – Essential Media and Entertainment and Quail Entertainment. Headed by CEO and executive producer Chris Hilton and CCO and executive producer Greg Quail.

Essential Media Group has production offices in Sydney, Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth.

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