- LOS ANGELES
Merman--the production company founded and run by Sharon Horgan (the Emmy-nominated creator of the Amazon series Catastrophe) and partner/producer Clelia Mountford--has launched Mermade, a digital arm which will specialize in the creation of non-broadcast content of all shapes and sizes, funded by and for social and streaming platforms, brands and publishers, with a particular focus on short-form episodic.
“Mermade gives creators control over their output, fostering new and original voices with subject matter that is not bound to convention,” explained Horgan. “The digital space allows us to create a format that fits the idea, instead of creating an idea to fit the format. The idea comes first. It’s about working with diverse creators and blurring the lines between TV, film and branded entertainment.”
The development of Mermade follows the 2017 expansion of the London-based Merman into L.A. and New York, and the launch of its branded entertainment and advertising division in both the U.S. and U.K. Merman global managing partners Jeremy Rainbird in London and Kira Carstensen in Los Angeles will run Mermade, alongside Horgan and Mountford.
“Mermade is very much an extension of Merman,” commented Carstensen. “We make scripted and non-scripted premium short form episodic entertainment, brand-funded and beyond, for audiences who consume their content online and who are attracted to the truthful and irreverent shows they have come to expect from the Merman brand.”
The board of Mermade in the U.S. and U.K. is bolstered by the addition of non-executive directors Rene Rechtman and Dan’l Hewitt, both formerly of Maker Studios/Disney.
In the U.K., former Channel 4 and All4 commissioning editor Joshua Buckingham has joined as U.K. managing director.
“We are already working with an electric mix of writers, performers and directors and with them we want to embrace the way audiences actually consume content and innovate storytelling accordingly.” noted Buckingham.
The development director USA is Melanie Donkers, who joins the Mermade USA team from Pulse Films and Fullscreen where she was in digital development.
In addition to the lauded Catastrophe in which she co-writes and co-stars with co-creator Rob Delaney, Horgan is creator and EP of Divorce (HBO) and co-creator of Motherland (BBC Two, Sundance). Earlier this year Amazon Studios entered into a two-year overall deal with Horgan. Merman also signed a first-look deal with Amazon. Per this arrangement, Amazon Studios gets first-look rights to Merman concepts to which Horgan is attached and remake rights to Merman-produced television series.