Peter Chernin’s North Road Co. has taken a minority stake in Omaha Productions, the busy production banner headed by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, Variety reports.
The deal brings an influx of capital to Omaha and it allows the company to tap into the production and distribution infrastructure that Chernin is building through North Road, which launched last year with backing from private equity giants Providence Equity and Apollo Global Management. North Road is in assembling a roster of content banners with the goal of creating a strong independent source of TV and film titles for buyers, particularly those outside the U.S.
Omaha is already co-producing projects with North Road-affiliated Words + Pictures, which is headed by former ESPN programming executive Connor Schell. Omaha made a splash starting with the 2021 football season with the launch of its “ManningCast” alternative telecast of Monday Night Football featuring Manning and his brother Eli Manning, a fellow retired NFL quarterback, commenting on the game in real time with guests for ESPN 2.
“Through Peyton’s relationship with Connor Schell and our team at Words + Pictures, we have
been fortunate to collaborate with Peyton and Omaha on several recent projects and have
witnessed first-hand the authenticity with which Omaha mixes humor, heart, and intelligence
into all its stories,” said Chernin, who is CEO of North Road. “This partnership formalizes and strengthens that relationship and will support Omaha’s growth into new business categories. Peyton is committed to excellence, and we look forward to starting this new chapter together.”
After the success with Monday Night Football, Omaha is now producing alternative game telecasts for NBA, golf and UFC telecasts on ESPN. It is also the company behind the annual “NFL Honors” telecast. The company launched in 2020 with a deal to produce the “Places” interview and travelogue franchise for ESPN+.
Omaha and Words + Pictures are collaborating on a documentary for Amazon Prime Video about horse trainer Eric Reed, who was behind the long-shot win of horse Rich Strike at the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Omaha and Words+Pictures already teamed on the Netflix docu series The King of Collectibles, about sports and pop culture memorabilia dealer Ken Goldin, which bowed in April.
Peyton Manning has articulated his commitment to growing Omaha as a crucible of content that has the power to “unify and uplift” viewers. Manning also is focused on expanding with content that allows him to serve as a producer but not be in front of the camera. Omaha has a branded content arm that has done work for such clients as Caesars Sportsbook and Kendra Scott.
“We are looking forward to teaming up with Peter Chernin and the North Road Company. Peter has demonstrated throughout his career that he shares our passion for telling stories that unify and uplift,” Manning said. “We have had early success on the projects we’ve already worked on with Words + Pictures, and this new partnership, beginning with the King of Collectibles, will allow us to do even more together.”
North Road launched by acquiring the U.S. assets owned by Red Arrow Studios, which brought unscripted production entities Kinetic Content, Left/Right, Half Yard, and 44 Blue Productions under its roof. At present, North Road and its affiliated companies have about 80 projects in various stages of production.