Canadian production company Shaftesbury forms strategic partnership with AMC Networks


TORONTO — Canadian production company Shaftesbury of “Murdoch Mysteries” fame has formed a new strategic partnership with AMC Networks in the U.S., which it says might result in more of its shows winding up on American television.

The Toronto-based Shaftesbury — whose other series include “Departure,” “Frankie Drake Mysteries” and “Hudson & Rex” — says AMC’s investment will give the American entertainment company access to its slate.

Shaftesbury CEO and chairman Christina Jennings says the hope is that AMC buys more of its content for the U.S. market and provides intelligence about the type of content it’s looking for, so the Toronto company can develop it.

The two companies have worked together before, with AMC Networks’ Acorn TV streaming service picking up Shaftesbury titles including the hit detective series “Murdoch Mysteries.”

Shaftesbury co-produced shows “Dead Still” and “The Sounds” also landed on Acorn, while Season 4 of the Canadian company’s series “Slasher” is bound for the AMC-owned Shudder streamer.

Jennings says the two companies have a creatively-driven partnership, and AMC seemed the right fit when Shaftesbury was looking for a way to grow with a global company.

They’re now co-developing some other shows they plan to announce in the next month or so.

“For Shaftesbury, going back 30 years, we’ve always been trying to find the largest global market for our shows, and I think we’ve done a pretty darn good job,” Jennings said in an interview.

“But maybe with AMC, we might be able to get more of our shows on American television. So I think there is a big win for Shaftesbury in terms of having a strategic partner that is able to look at the content we make and say: ‘That could be perfect for our channel,’ or be able to give us a heads up: ‘We’re looking for a show like this, how can you help us?'”

AMC Networks also operates the entertainment brands AMC, SundanceTV, BBC America and the streaming services AMC+, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

With the new partnership, Jennings will continue on in her role alongside executive vice-president, Scott Garvie.

Shaftesbury’s board of directors will now include them as well as Michael Levine and two AMC Networks directors.

Shaftesbury’s focus will remain on Canada, Jennings said, noting the company’s staff will remain here and may grow a little bit over the next couple of years. And the company will still air its shows on Canadian networks.

“I think that’s one of the beauties of this, is that there really isn’t competition between AMC and the Canadian broadcasters,” Jennings said.