'Empire' studio Imagine nets $100M from Hong Kong firm for TV productions

Arrested Development (Netflix)

Imagine, the production company founded and led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, has entered into a TV co-financing venture with TVB Venture, owned by Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB).

TVB Venture is investing $100 million to be used for the development and production of television projects. For its investment, TVB Venture gets broadcast and distribution rights in China (including Hong Kong and Macao) and Taiwan, while Imagine and TVB will each own 50% of the venture.

Imagine is responsible for series including “Empire” on Fox, “Genius” on National Geographic Channel, and the upcoming season of “Arrested Development” on Netflix.

"TVB is a proven leader in the television industry with broad capabilities in broadcasting, production, and distribution. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with them and are excited about the opportunities this agreement provides for Imagine to invest in our own production and development while also retaining the rights to our IP," said Grazer in a statement.

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"We could not have hoped for a more perfect collaboration than with Imagine Entertainment, a company that is at the forefront of TV programming," said Charles Chan, chairman of TVB, in a statement. "It will provide us with a new opportunity for cooperation with a leading film and TV production company in the U.S. With our strong distribution network, we can help bring TV programs produced under the joint venture to the vast markets in Greater China."

The new investment for Imagine comes after the Raine Group pumped another $100 million into the production company last year. Since then, Imagine has signed agreements with animation firm Animal Logic for six movies over the next five years, with writer Akiva Goldsman to move into television, and with The Atavist Magazine for the right to develop film and television projects based on upcoming Atavist articles and the publication's archives.