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Fremantle exec to lead A. Smith unit as BASE folds

US reality giant A. Smith & Co. is merging with Tinopolis Group sister BASE Productions, whose founder will no longer be part of management.

Toby GormanThe structural move will see A. Smith dividing into A. Smith and Co. Entertainment and A. Smith & Co. Dox, with FremantleMedia North America executive VP, alternative programming Toby Gorman (pictured, left) hired to lead the entertainment arm as president.

This unit will house shows including Hell’s Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior, while the documentary division will have a slate including Inside the Label and Sport Science, which was formerly a BASE show.

John Brenkus, BASE’s founder and Sport Science presenter and executive producer, will “no longer be part of management” as a result, according to a spokesman. He will remain as host and EP of the series, however.

A. Smith & Co. Entertainment and A. Smith & Co. Dox will both sit under the A. Smith & Co. Productions banner, whose COO, Frank Sinton (below right), will also be president of the documentary division. Arthur Smith remains as A. Smith CEO and Kent Weed stays president.

“With our award winning productions across both the entertainment and documentary space and continued growth in many genres, we decided to service our clients with two beefed up divisions,” said Arthur Smith, who is also chairman of Tinopolis North America.

“With Frank Sinton leading the charge of Dox, and Toby Gorman at the helm of Entertainment, we are well positioned to increase our production of the most compelling content possible across broadcast, cable and digital.”

Sinton said A. Smith & Co. Dox said the new unit was “diving in head-first – creating a formal home for both our existing documentary programming and nonfiction films”.

Frank SintonTo that end, Dox has entered into a first-look partnership with Strong Eagle Media (Citizen Soldier), which will see the pair coproducing multiple documentary films.

New entertainment president Gorman, meanwhile, previously sold and launched FMNA shows such as Celebrity Family Feud, To Tell the Truth and Mat Franco’s Got Magic. Before Fremantle’s US arm, he was co-executive producer and showrunner on NBC’s Hollywood Game Night and The Winner Is.

“A. Smith & Co. is unique in that it is isn’t limited to one genre of unscripted – from reality competition, to variety, game, sports, and documentary programming – they can do it all,” he said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of creating the highest-quality, smash-hit programs that the company is so well-known for.”

Wales-based Tinopolis bought A. Smith & Co. for around US$100 million in 2011, and BASE for about US$65 million in the same year. They now sit in a group also comprising Daybreak Pictures, Sunset + Vine, Firecracker Films, Magical Elves, Mentorn Media, Pioneer Productions, Fiction Factory, Tinopolis Cymru, and fFatti fFilms.