marblemedia, the award-winning Canadian production company, has expanded its unscripted development team with the appointment of seasoned exec Mike Armitage as its new development producer, factual & factual entertainment. As the company doubles-down on unscripted, existing exec Kelsey Espensen sees her role expanded to become development producer, unscripted entertainment & formats.
Armitage joins from Masterchef Canada and Great Canadian Baking Show prodco Proper Television, where he was director of development responsible for conceiving and creating series such Tougher Than it Looks and Last Stop Garage – both for Discovery – and Under New Management for CBC. He has also worked for Banger and Antica Productions and spent many years at CBC where, from 2006 to 2013, he helped to develop and produce Dragon’s Den, turning it into one of Canada’s most-watched and longest-running shows. While at CBC, Mike also produced Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister and was showrunner on The Big Decision.
Mike is tasked with finding dynamic talent and creating character-led, long-running, returnable factual series to feed marblemedia’s growing production pipeline. He will be working closely with Diane Rankin, executive producer and SVP at sister rights management company Distribution360, to ensure that new projects are developed with an eye toward global buyers’ needs, as well as to address new demand from a wide range of partners in the international marketplace. Armitage reports to both marblemedia co-CEO Matt Hornburg and Diane Rankin.
Kelsey Espensen led creative development on the upcoming sand sculpture series Race Against the Tide for CBC and has a number of original competition series currently in development with broadcasters. She sees her remit expanded to drive unscripted entertainment content and formats. Reporting directly to co-CEO and co-founder Matt Hornburg, she is tasked with creating original IP in the competition space and with sourcing global formats for marblemedia to acquire for production.
Bringing Mike on board and expanding Kelsey’s role are critical steps in the execution of marblemedia’s long-term unscripted strategy. The company saw the second season of its hit Netflix Original Blown Away launch worldwide on January 22nd, its version of sports competition format All Round Champion recently completed production on its third season and the sand sculpting format Race Against the Tide will have a launch date confirmed shortly.
“Mike Armitage is a tremendous talent and well-respected development executive with a successful track record for delivering original productions from concept to the screen. We are thrilled to welcome him to the team,” said Matt Hornburg, co-CEO at marblemedia. “Expanding our unscripted development team into two distinct areas of original production will serve the needs of our global buyers and further fuel the growth and scalability of our business.”
Mike Armitage adds: “I’ve followed marblemedia’s evolution in recent years and have been impressed with its increasingly strong factual output. Matt and the team are ambitious, with a clear vision, so it’s an exciting time to join the company, both in terms of output and creative reputation. It’s also a tremendous benefit for an independent producer to have such an experienced international executive within the business. I am really looking forward to working closely with Diane in a bid to create some new worldwide factual hits.”