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Liberty Global and TPG back TV production company

Katie O’Connell Marsh

Katie O’Connell Marsh

Former Gaumont Television CEO Katie O’Connell Marsh is to lead to lead a production and distribution company with backing from Liberty Global and Texan TV financier TPG Growth.

LA-based Platform One Media will aim to develop, produce and distribute high-end scripted programming for the US and international markets, with Narcos producer O’Connell Marsh leading the charge as CEO.

She had left Gaumont when Gene Stein took over in September 2015, and then joined DreamWorks Animation as head of global live action television, launching a new non-animation division.

The move further pushes cable giant Liberty into scripted programming, following its acquisition of half of All3Media Group in 2014, and an agreement last year for the latter to produce dramas and comedies for its various pay TV platforms.

It takes an undisclosed minority stake in the new business.

“Platform One Media has the key ingredients Liberty Global values in a strategic asset: great leadership, a clear vision and aligned, well-capitalised partners,” said Bruce Mann, chief programming officer at Liberty Global.

“It also gives us the opportunity to work with world-class talent creating high-quality scripted programming which could potentially feature on Liberty Global’s pay-TV platforms in Europe.

Platform One will also subsume Slingshot Global Media, the US-based scripted prodco that TPG Growth, which manages a portfolio of more than US$8.3 billion in assets, has backed since 2014. This means it has acquired Slingshot’s development slate, with the latter’s brand retired.

TPG will fund its investment in Platform One through Evolution Media, which is an investment partner with talent agency CAA and US-based Participant Media.

Former Gaumont execs Erik Pack and Elisa Ellis are joining O’Connell Marsh at the business, as are a number of Slingshot executives.

Pack is joining as head of distribution and coproduction, based out of London following his departure as president of international distribution and coproduction from Gaumont earlier this year.

Ellis has been head of creative at DreamWorks Animation’s live-action business since 2016, joining after leaving her role as president of creative affairs and production at Gaumont, where she had overseen development and production of Netflix’s Narcos and NBC’s Hannibal.

Slingshot president Courtney Conte is moving across to become COO and president of Platform One.

He had replaced Slingshot founder David Ellender, and was previously COO of LA-based BBC Worldwide Productions and co-president of Roseanne studio Carsey-Werner, and has produced series for all of the major American channels.

Slingshot head of business and legal affairs Neil Strum is taking on the same post at Platform One. He was previously executive VP at China-focused Metan Development Group and senior VP at LA’s Wiliam Morris.

Also joining Platform One on a consultancy basis is former ABC Studios head of creative Julia Franz.

“The explosion of original content globally is creating an opportunity for new, innovative, and diverse ways to engage audiences beyond the series itself,” said O’Connell Marsh.

“With Platform One Media, and our partners TPG Growth and Liberty Global, we are perfectly positioned to develop and distribute compelling narratives that are artistic, meaningful and addictive by working closely with innovative, inspiring talent to bring to life their creative visions.”