Discovery Buys U.K. Program Shop betty

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Discovery Communications said it has acquired London, England-based reality-TV producer betty.

Discovery's TLC network already airs a betty series (pictured), Freaky Eaters, a BBC Three program. The acquirer said all of betty's staff will be retained and the shop will continue to operate independently in its London headquarters.

'Freaky Eaters' stars psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow and nutrition expert J J Virgin

Discovery said the acquisition will provide a global platform and investment to expand betty's creative output worldwide. Betty will develop and produce new ideas and formats for the full complement of Discovery's portfolio of factual and lifestyle channels. Discovery will have the option to acquire formats from betty that have previously been produced from the company's programming library.

Terms were not disclosed.

Lee Bartlett, executive vice president of global production management, business and legal affairs for Discovery Communications, said in a release: "We are committed to working with the best creatives in the business, and no question that betty stands apart. This is a global deal, and Discovery looks forward to providing the infrastructure and resources of our global platform of 142 networks in 210 countries to enable betty to extend their content to our channels in the US and around the world. We are looking forward to betty infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with award-winning storytelling that will be seen on TLC and Discovery's channels around the world."

Betty CEO CEO Liz Warner said in the release: "Creativity and idea generation are the drivers of our business. We are thrilled to do this deal with Discovery which gives us the freedom to be a thriving UK producer and gives Discovery the benefit of our increasing number of formats and series for their international business. It is genuinely exciting to be working with such a successful corporation and to tap into their infrastructure."

Warner, a former BBC and Channel 4 commissioning editor, formed betty in 2001 to sell shows to the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky. Other series include Beauty and the Beast, Food Hospital and Country House Rescue.

Media corporate finance firm Clarity and Wiggin solicitors advised betty's shareholders. HRO Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.

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