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Carsey-Werner-Mandabach to Stay Independent

Aug 3, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Independent production company Carsey-Werner-Mandabach will remain an independent company, opting not to pursue what principal Tom Werner described as” some very interesting and thoughtful proposals” presented by UBS Investment Bank, the firm CWM engaged to explore a possible sale.

Some observers had speculated that the principals–Mr. Werner, Marcy Carsey and Caryn Mandabach–might have been considering exiting the business given the difficulty in launching a successful comedy on television. However, last month Mr. Werner said that he still enjoys the hunt for the next big sitcom (TelevisionWeek, July 26).

“We wanted to examine all of our options to determine the best way for us to move forward as a creative entity,” Mr. Werner said in a statement Tuesday. “Our investment bankers at UBS presented us with some very interesting and thoughtful proposals, but after careful analysis we decided that independence remains the best way for us to navigate the changing waters of the television business.”

TelevisionWeek reported in May that CWM hired UBS Investment Bank to explore the company’s options, which at the time ranged from an outright sale to putting together a joint venture with another studio (TelevisionWeek,May 3).

This is not the first time CWM has considered a sale. Sources familiar with the company said every three years or so the principals put out feelers into the marketplace to determine the company’s value. Of particular value is CWM’s library, which includes sitcoms “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “That ’70s Show,” which is about to enter its second syndication cycle.

“As one of the last remaining independents, every few years we take a serious look at the business and evaluate our status as a stand-alone company,” said Ms. Carsey, who added that despite the challenges facing sitcoms today, she remains “excited about producing and distributing our own programs for the foreseeable future.”

To that end, CWM said it was actively developing several prime-time projects for Fox and NBC and has secured the format rights to the British series “Peep Show.” The company is also moving into film, striking a deal with Paramount Pictures.