Jeff Zucker’s RedBird IMI Invests in ‘The Morning Show’ Studio Media Res

Terms were not disclosed but the studio said it will use the investment to expand scripted, non-fiction and film efforts

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in "The Morning Show" Season 3 (Apple TV+)

Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s RedBird IMI is investing in Media Res, the studio behind the Apple TV+ hit “The Morning Show,” in the company’s first foray into scripted territory.

Neither side has revealed the size of the investment, but Zucker told The New York Times he will join the Media Res board.

The investment is one of several Zucker has made in various media since he founded the venture with $1 billion backing in 2022, with an eye toward global media and entertainment properties. The company is a joint venture with RedBird Capital and International Media Investments, a private investment fund run by by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates.

RedBird IMI is also involved in a controversial $1 billion attempt to buy Britain’s Telegraph Group newspapers, which is currently under review amid cries of concern from conservative leadership about foreign ownership of the nation’s press.

Zucker made several other investments in the last year, including a minority stake in Front Office Sports and launching a nonfiction content company called EverWonder Studio, but this marks the first money put down on scripted programming.

Media Res, founded by former HBO executive Michael Ellenberg, is also behind “Pachinko,” on Apple TV+ and HBO’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” and recently launched “I’m a Virgo” on Amazon Prime.

The studio will use the infusion from RedBird to fund its global scripted programming efforts and to expand its film division and non-fiction work.

Media Res launched in 2017 as a premium independent studio and “The Morning Show,” which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, was the flagship offering when Apple TV+ debuted in 2019.

Zucker told the Times that while funding for original programming with marquee stars amid the explosion of streamers has started to decline, there will always be demand for quality programming.

“Even if it’s not at the level it’s been historically, there’s still going to be a desire for prestigious scripted programming,” Mr. Zucker said. “We think Media Res is in the sweet spot of where success will come in the next decade.”

But don’t expect Zucker, who once helmed the real-life “The Today Show,” to make a cameo on “The Morning Show.” He is, however, a fan, he told The Times.

“I’ve seen all three seasons, every episode,” Zucker said. “Parts are absolutely realistic; the cutthroat nature of morning television is captured incredibly well. Other parts are an arch fantasy that can only be created in a writers’ room somewhere, and are fantastic.”

The show has already been renewed for a fourth season.

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