Sky Studios sign funding and distribution deal with Merman Television in the UK

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s company to co-develop projects with Sky Studios

Sky Studios has signed a two-year overhead and development funding and first look distribution deal with award-winning production and entertainment company Merman TV. The deal builds on the recent success of Frayed, the hit Sky original co-production with ABC Australia, and will see Merman TV expand its UK scripted team to develop brand new drama and comedy for Sky audiences and beyond.

NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales for co-developed projects

Under the leadership of award-winning duo and co-founders Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford, Merman TV has won multiple accolades including three BAFTAs, and numerous Emmy and RTS nominations, since its creation in 2014.

Merman’s most recent success stories include This Way Up for Hulu/Channel 4, There She Goes for BBC/Britbox and Motherland for BBC2. In the last few weeks the firm has also announced a raft of projects for development at various US networks and platforms, including Shining Vale for Starz, Therapy Dog for Fox, Guru for Amazon and Delilah for HBO Max.

The wider Merman Group spans Film, TV, Advertising and Branded content operating out of offices in London, New York and LA.

Gary Davey, CEO Sky Studios, said:When we launched Sky Studios we said we wanted to work with Europe’s top creatives, and that’s exactly what Sharon and Clelia are. Together, they have a unique ability to take a sideways look at the ordinary and make it outrageously funny while making you care deeply about their characters along the way. Let’s see what trouble we can cause together!”

Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford, Merman, said: “We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to take our great relationship with Sky Studios to the next level, as they help us to share our stories worldwide. This partnership means not only do we get to make even more Merman comedy, but also realise our ambitions in the drama space. And we’re really excited about that.”

Sky recently committed to more than double its investment in original, drama, comedy and documentary over the next five years through Sky Studios. Sky Studios currently have 52 scripted projects in production across Europe.

The deal with Merman TV is the latest series of significant announcements from Sky Studios, the creative home of Sky’s award-winning and much-loved Sky originals.

Yesterday, Sky announced plans to develop Sky Studios Elstree, a new 32-acre, state-of-the-art TV and film studio.

The proposed development represents a significant new investment in the UK and European creative economy and will be made with the backing of Sky’s new owner Comcast and in partnership with sister-company NBCUniversal. Legal & General will develop its site and provide financing for the project.

In a huge boost to Britain’s creative sector, the new Sky Studios Elstree will:

  • lead to the creation of over 2000 new jobs and help fuel the local economy
  • generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK’s creative economy over the first five years of operation, from Sky, NBCUniversal and other producers
  • house 14 sound stages and become a new home for the best of British and European creative talent

Separately, in October, Sky and WarnerMedia announced an extension to their longstanding co-production partnership in a new deal that will see Sky Studios and HBO Max collaborate on more original content for viewers.

Sky and HBO have long had a successful co-production partnership. Their co-production Chernobyl picked up 10 wins at last month’s Emmy Awards making Chernobyl the most-awarded British series this year.

Notes to Editors

About Sky

With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group.

Our 31,000 employees help connect our customers with the very best of Sports, News, the arts and to our own local, original content. Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, Patrick Melrose, Das Boot and Gomorrah we launched Sky Studios and now plan to more than double our investment in original drama and comedy over the next five years.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, it is our responsibility to do it safely – that’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. Our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign has reached millions across Europe, we’re on track to be free of single-use plastic by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re a proud employer – recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our approach to inclusivity.

About Merman

Merman was founded in 2014 by award-winning duo Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford. Since then, Merman has gathered multiple accolades the world over, including BAFTA, Emmy and RTS wins and nominations.

Merman’s most recent projects include brand new Channel 4/Hulu comedy drama This Way Up starring and written by Aisling Bea, a second series of Motherland for BBC2, and the SKY/ABC comedy drama Frayed starring and written by Sarah Kendall (Beehive), which also stars Diane Morgan (Motherland) and award-winning comedian Robert Webb (Peep Show) amongst others.

Further Merman projects include BAFTA Award-winning There She Goes for BBC4, starring David Tennant and Jessica Hynes; Women on the Verge for UKTV’s W channel, starring Kerry Condon, Nina Sosanya and Eileen Walsh and written by Lorna Martin; Motherland for BBC2 starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Lucy Punch and Diane Morgan; Bliss for Sky 1 starring Heather Graham and Stephen Mangan; four series of the award-winning Catastrophe for Channel 4/Amazon created by and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney; and Divorce by Sharon Horgan for HBO starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church.

Merman has also produced multiple shorts for Sky Arts across its different strands, including the BAFTA TV award-winning Morgana Robinson’s Summer: Dream Land, and Andy and the Donald in the recent season of Urban Myths.

With offices in LA and NYC, Merman works in all areas of the worlds of entertainment and communications including creating and executing the next generation of branded entertainment.

Merman Founders Clelia Mountford and Sharon Horgan first met on Season 1 of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret as producer and actor respectively. Both enjoyed full and diverse careers before joining forces to create Merman. In addition to working with established writers, actors and directors around the world, they remain committed to discovering and nurturing new talent as the Merman family grows.