Hearst Media Production Group
FormerlyLitton Syndications (1988–2005)
Litton Entertainment (2005–2022)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryTelevision
GenreTelevision programming
Educational entertainment
Founded1988; 36 years ago (1988) in Baltimore, Maryland
FounderDave Morgan
Headquarters,
Number of locations
4[1]
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Frank Biancuzzo (president)
ServicesDistribution
Media sales
OwnerHearst Communications
ParentHearst Television
(2017–present)
Websitewww.hearst.com/hearst-media-production-group

The Hearst Media Production Group (formerly Litton Syndications and Litton Entertainment) is an American media and production company based in New York City, New York[2] as a division of the Hearst Television subsidiary of Hearst Communications, with three additional offices in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Burbank, California. Many of HMPG's programs comply with federally mandated educational and informational requirements.[3]

History

Early history (1988–2011)

The company was founded in 1988 as Litton Syndications by Dave Morgan in Baltimore.[4] Its first syndicated productions were a series of one-off, sports-related specials.[1] The programs were bought from other companies.[4]

In the 1990s, seeing a growing market for educational programs due to the enactment of the Children's Television Act, requiring television stations to air a weekly quota of educational programs, Litton began to syndicate Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures.[1] In 1993, the company was moved to Charleston, South Carolina, while maintaining a production base in Burbank, California.[4] Litton has maintained a long-time business relationship with Columbus Zoo and Aquarium director emeritus Jack Hanna and his family with three more later series throughout the 2000s and 2010s, only ending actively in 2021 with Hanna's retirement after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's; HMPG will continue to distribute his shows indefinitely.

In 2005, the company changed its name from Litton Syndications to Litton Entertainment. Adding to its outside syndication library that included Baywatch in May 2007, Litton purchased from Peace Arch Entertainment Group syndication rights to 85 movies in the Castle Hill library. The low budget films were bundled into 4 groups and was the company's first move into syndicating movies.[5] By 2008, LE had syndicated rights to three off-MTV shows, Cribs, Pimp My Ride and Date My Mom, while adding that year, Storm Stories from The Weather Channel. In 2009-10, Litton offered the nontraditional court show Street Court.[1]

In January 2011, Litton distributed the hip-hop newsmagazine Direct Access (hosted by Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan) from WDCW/Washington, D.C. to fellow Tribune Broadcasting stations and Weigel Broadcasting's WCIU-TV/Chicago.[6]

Involvement in network E/I blocks (2011–2017)

Litton Entertainment logo used from 2014 to 2022.

In May 2011, following the announcement of plans to discontinue the ABC Kids Saturday morning block, Litton reached a deal with ABC's affiliate board to syndicate a block of live-action, E/I (educational and informative) compliant programming, known as Litton's Weekend Adventure. The block premiered on September 3, 2011.[7][8]

On September 28, 2013, Litton introduced its second Saturday morning network television block, CBS Dream Team, for CBS; focusing on teenagers 13 to 16 years old. The block succeeded CBS' previous block, Cookie Jar TV.[9] Recipe Rehab was one preexisting program Litton moved over from its ABC block.[10]

The company planned to double its productions by adding production facilities in South Carolina. Litton began renting and renovation a North Charleston studio used with its first-ever scripted production, The Inspectors, also being its first series produced there.[4] LE's first film produced in that studio was the independent film The Ivy League Farmer, which began filming in September. Additionally, Litton planned to build its own studio complex with multiple stages somewhere in the state. Production of most of Litton's productions should move there also.[11]

In 2014, Ocean Mysteries With Jeff Corwin won two Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards for Outstanding Travel Program and Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/Travel Program.[4] On October 4, 2014, Litton introduced its third Saturday morning block, One Magnificent Morning, for The CW, succeeding Saban Brands' Vortexx block.[12]

For the 2016-17 season, Litton launched two additional E/I programming blocks. On April 27, 2015, Litton announced Go Time, a syndicated block of E/I programming drawn largely from reruns of programming from its other network blocks, which launched on October 1, 2016.[13] On February 24, 2016, Litton and NBC announced The More You Know, which launched on October 8, 2016, succeeding NBC Kids.[14]

Acquisition by Hearst and rebranding as HMPG (2017–present)

On January 6, 2017, Hearst Television, a division of Hearst Communications and a former employer of company founder Dave Morgan, announced that it had acquired a majority stake in Litton for an undisclosed amount, a deal closed on February 1, 2017.[15][16] On January 25, 2017, Litton and Tribune Media announced a deal for the 2017–18 season where they will provide E/I content for Tribune's Antenna TV network.[17] In the 2017-18 season, NBC's The More You Know block also began to be carried on NBC's classic television subchannel network, Cozi TV. On January 6, 2018, Telemundo's block, MiTelemundo, was relaunched to carry programs from NBC's The More You Know block, in Spanish. The block, however, kept its original name.[18][19]

On September 7, 2021, after fully acquiring Litton's balance that year, Hearst Television announced that the former would be moved under a new unified banner for the latter's outside productions, including Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien.[3] On January 28, 2022, it was revealed that the name of Hearst Television's newly-rebranded unified division will be Hearst Media Production Group, and a new logo and production card were also unveiled for the new banner.[20]

On March 3, 2022, HMPG made an agreement with Toonz Media Group in which the former will co-produce animated productions with the latter, including Paddypaws, Sunnyside Billy, Kingdom of None and Aliens in My Backpack, and distribute them in the United States.[21]

Former divisions

Litton formerly had three operating divisions:[22]

First run syndicated

Programming blocks

Programming block Network Launch Replaced Former programmer
Weekend Adventure ABC[8] September 3, 2011 ABC Kids The Walt Disney Company
CBS WKND CBS[9] September 28, 2013 Cookie Jar TV DHX Media
One Magnificent Morning The CW & The CW Plus October 4, 2014 Vortexx Saban Brands
The More You Know NBC & Cozi TV[14] October 8, 2016 NBC Kids Comcast (NBCUniversal)
Mi Telemundo Telemundo January 6, 2018[19]

Go Time

Go Time is a syndicated E/I-compliant block of six 30-minute programs formerly aired as part of Hearst Media's network-provided blocks, which is cleared throughout 80% of the United States.[23] Sony Pictures Television sells advertising for the block in lieu of Hearst.[23]

On April 27, 2015, Litton announced Go Time block would launch on October 1, 2016, with CBS News and Stations' independent stations as its major body of stations, along with Gray Television and Sinclair Broadcast Group, the latter utilizing it for its MyNetworkTV stations; Hearst also carries it on its non-Big Three network stations.[13] Other groups carrying it are Cowles, Cox, NPG, Scripps, Nexstar, and Weigel Broadcasting.[23]

Current Go Time programming

Program Date joined Previous network
Hearts of Heroes TBD ABC
oh baby! TBD ABC
Vets Saving Pets September 2, 2023 NBC
Ready, Set, Pet TBD The CW
Outback Adventures With Tim Faulkner TBD ABC
Did I Mention Invention? September 2, 2023 The CW/CBS

Stand alone programs

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Albiniak, Paige (August 29, 2008). "A Small Syndicator's Big Success". Broadcasting and Cable. NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. ^ "Hearst Media Production Group | Hearst". www.hearst.com. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b Lafayette, Jon (7 September 2021). "Hearst TV Taps Frank Biancuzzo To Head New Production Group". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Darlington, Abigail (July 20, 2014). "Setting the stage: Litton Entertainment to build network of film industry professionals in Charleston". The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Dempsey, John (May 25, 2007). "Little Litton serves up movies". Variety. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  6. ^ Miller, Mark K. (January 25, 2011). "Litton And Tribune Offering "Direct Access'". TVNewsCheck.
  7. ^ "ABC Orders Saturday Kids Block From Litton". TVNewsCheck. May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (May 24, 2011). "ABC to Premiere ABC Weekend Adventure on Sept. 3". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  9. ^ a b James, Meg (July 24, 2013). "CBS partners with Litton Entertainment for Saturday teen block". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "Former Greenbrier chef now stars in 'Recipe Rehab'". Associated Press. September 7, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Darlington, Abigail (July 21, 2014). "Litton Entertainment to bring TV production, film jobs to S.C." The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  12. ^ James, Meg (July 24, 2013). "CBS partners with Litton Entertainment for Saturday teen block". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Albiniak, Paige (April 27, 2015). "It's 'Go Time' for Litton Entertainment". Broadcasting & Cable. p. 22.
  14. ^ a b Middleton, Richard (February 26, 2016). "NBC, Litton prep factual block". C21Media. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Hearst Invests in Media Entertainment Production Company". TVSpy. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Hearst Acquires Majority Stake in Independent Distributor Litton Entertainment". Variety. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  17. ^ "TRIBUNE BROADCASTING AND LITTON ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE NEW E/I BLOCK FOR ANTENNA TV" (Press release). Litton Entertainment. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  18. ^ Desk, TV News. "Telemundo Kicks Off 2018 with New 'Mi Telemundo' Programming Block". Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  19. ^ a b "Litton Entertainment & Telemundo Kick Off 2018 with the new "Mi Telemundo" Kids Programming Block Premiering Jan. 6". Litton Entertainment. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  20. ^ Hill, Michael P. (January 28, 2022). "Litton becomes Hearst Media Production Group with new logo, production card". NewscastStudio. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  21. ^ Media, aNb (March 3, 2022). "Hearst Media and Toonz Media Enter Into Strategic Partnership for NA Market". aNb Media, Inc. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  22. ^ a b c Chris, Pursell (April 16, 2007). "Litton Maintains Its Independence". Television Week. Retrieved May 26, 2011.[dead link] Freely accessible here
  23. ^ a b c "TV One grabs Empire; History star jumps ship; TNT tells Tales from the Crypt". Cynopsis. April 15, 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2016.