Exclusive: Reality Giant Bunim-Murray Staying Indie — for Now

Reports of a blockbuster sale to Dutch billionaire John de Mol proved premature.

Last Updated: October 27, 2009 @ 3:59 PM

Reality powerhouse Bunim-Murray Productions ("Project Runway," "The Real World") appears to be staying independent– at least for now.

In July, a news report said BMP was being gobbled up by Talpa Media, the production arm of Dutch billionaire and reality pioneer John de Mol. The deal was said to be worth between $50 million and $70 million.

Neither party would comment on the story at the time. And now, three months later, it appears as if any possible deal between BMP and Talpa is dead, according to two people familiar with the matter.

While one insider cautioned that there’s still no formal decision on the matter, both companies appear to be proceeding as if any deal that might have been the works is now off. It’s unclear what derailed the agreement.

Representatives for both BMP and Talpa declined comment.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether BMP will stay indie or whether it might now be open to other possible suitors. A number of reality producers, including 51 Minds, Reveille and Original Prods., have been snapped up by bigger companies in the last year.

BMP, which for years was represented by William Morris (and eventually WME), quietly decided to forego agency representation in June.