Greg Quail and Jesse Fawcett.

Greg Quail and Jesse Fawcett have re-branded their trans-national production company Essential Media and Entertainment as the EQ Media Group and are boosting their slate of unscripted and scripted content.

With development and production hubs in Los Angeles, Sydney, Dallas, Vancouver and Auckland, EQ Media Group has a core staff of 40, with a current run-of-show employee count of 70.

Quail and Fawcett bought the Essential companies in March from the collapsed Kew Media Group.

President and executive producer Fawcett said: “We have focused on staff retention and are proud to say we haven’t lost any employees. Our team’s focus on content development has now tripled our production slate with further North American show announcements in the pipeline.”

CEO and executive producer Quail said the name EQ was chosen to signify Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence, the elements which they say drive the best storytelling.

“We’ve dug deep in the past few months to review what we stand for and the stories we want to tell,” Quail said. “Our unscripted slate is booming with 14 new titles greenlit since our buyback and we have significant scripted projects approaching production.”

EQ Media, Beyond Production, Renegade Entertainment and AGC Television are teaming up for Troppo, an Australian crime drama series which Yolanda Ramke (Cargo) adapted from Candice Fox’s novel Crimson Lake.

Thomas Jane (Amazon’s The Expanse) will play an ex-cop who is falsely accused of a disturbing crime, flees to the tropics of Far North Queensland and becomes entangled in a newly formed private investigation agency. Ramke will direct some episodes, with filming due to start next year.

The drama development slate includes a sci-fi series with UK-based author Jeff Norton, based on one of his books; a drama on the Vietnam War from an unexpected angle, in collaboration with writer/producer Greg Haddrick; and a drama created by Chris Squadrito.

The company aims to start shooting two scripted series in Australia and New Zealand in early 2021.

‘Countdown to Disaster: White Island Eruption.’

Brendan Dahill, general manager for Australia and New Zealand, today announced the ABC and TVNZ have co-commissioned Countdown to Disaster: White Island Eruption.

The hour-long special examines the days, minutes, and seconds leading up to the 2019 explosion that killed 21 people through the eyes of survivors, rescue workers and the scientists who have been studying the volcano for years.

“We’re having a lot of success with both fast-turnaround specials and blue-chip marquee titles,” Dahill says, citing desert survival series Outback Lockdown, which premiered last month in the US on Discovery US, and TVNZ’s Rhys Darby Big in Japan.

Production is underway on Shane, a feature documentary which charts the evolution of Shane Warne’s career and life, a co-production with the UK’s Eclipse Films. It’s being co-directed by Jon Carey and Adam Darke (Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story).

NITV/SBS commissioned feature doc The Fight Together, directed by Larissa Behrendt and produced by Sam Griffin, which sees a group of NRL greats come together to invent a pre-game ceremony in response to the Maori Haka – one that will celebrate Aboriginal cultures and help to counter racism in rugby league.

The company’s US lifestyle slate includes three titles in production; Brett Waterman’s Restored, in which preservationist Brett Waterman brings new life to historic homes, for Magnolia; HGTV’s Selling the Big Easy, which follows Brittany Picolo-Ramos and her team as they buy and sell historic properties in New Orleans; and No Demo Reno, which stars home renovation expert and social media influencer Jennifer Todryk.

A development and production office in Vancouver is building on the delivery of logging docu-series Big Timber for History Network.

Quail concludes: “We have put major resources into building our scripted slate and are realising our ambition to create compelling entertainment across all genres. We see these unprecedented times as opportunity in the business of telling stories.”

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