Discovery has partnered with director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer to launch New Form, a digital studio that will produce short-form videos for the web. New Form is an independent venture backed by financing from Discovery, Howard, Grazer, former William Morris chief Jim Wiatt, CAA attorney Craig Jacobson, former Tribune Broadcasting president Ed Wilson and Michael Rosenberg.
Rosenberg is co-chairman of Imagine Entertainment, the production company Grazer and Howard founded 28 years ago. Imagine has produced award-winning films and television shows such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13,” 24” and “Arrested Development.”
This new company unites Imagine with Discovery, one of the most successful producers and distributors of non-fiction programming in the world. New Form will produce both scripted and non-scripted fare, according to a Discovery spokeswoman, and those shows may appear on web portals like Yahoo and AOL, or on its own networks. Discovery already operates a handful of online video channels, such as Revision3 and TestTube, via its San Francisco-based subsidiary Discovery Digital Networks.
“Brian and Ron are best-in-class storytellers, and we look forward to developing compelling programming for today’s digital viewers,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “This creative powerhouse, coupled with Discovery’s strong programming expertise and our ability to engage viewers across our global platforms, is an unparalleled combination.”
Kathleen Grace will serve as New Form’s chief creative officer, overseeing the Los Angeles-based company. Grace is the former head of creative development at YouTubeSpace LA, the online video giant’s massive production facility in Playa Vista, Calif. Prior to that, she was vice president of production and programming at Next New Networks, which YouTube acquired in 2011.
New Form will seek partnerships with both brands and distrbutors to secure the financing and reach needed to make the shows profitable. Howard and Grazer will actively participate in select shows, as Howard has done with a few videos for Funny or Die.
“By investing with Discovery, New Form is poised to re-imagine storytelling and reach new audiences online and beyond,” Howard said.