First-look deal for Little Gem

Ben Gale and Natasha Bondy’s newly established indie Little Gem has signed a first-look deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The pair unveiled their factual producer earlier this week and wasted no time in signing the agreement, which will provide Little Gem with access to development funding in return for giving ITVS GE first refusal on the distribution rights to its shows.

London-based Little Gem has begun work on a slate of projects, with a focus on factual and factual entertainment formats. Gale and Bondy will aim to exploit the “feelgood factual” sensibilities they have honed elsewhere.

Former Maverick director of programmes Gale is managing director of Little Gem, while Bondy – who was most recently head of factual development for Princess Productions – is its creative director. Gale and Bondy have previously worked together at Maverick and the BBC.

“Ben and Natasha have incredible expertise and experience in making fantastic, quality programmes with broad appeal. Together they will be unstoppable,” said Ruth Clarke, ITVS GE’s director and executive vice-president of global content and co-productions.

Before joining Maverick, Gale was head of factual for BBC Bristol for three years, overseeing shows including DIY SOS: The Big Build. Gale also had a brief spell as director of programmes at Channel 5 in 2008, and prior to that was a commissioner for the BBC, ordering shows including Don’t Tell The Bride, The Real Hustle and Nigella Express. He was series editor on the first run of celebrity ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are? and executive produced The Choir.

Bondy was a producer and director at the BBC, where she won a Bafta for BBC2 reality series Back To The Floor in 1999. She also produced a number of science films for BBC1, including Phobias, Superhuman and Human Instinct.

Bondy was previously Head of Factual Features development at the Talkback Thames unit now known as Boundless. While at Shine Group-owned Princess, she developed Sky 1’s Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew, ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery and Jewish Mum Of The Year for Channel 4.

Bondy said it was “exciting to be running a true independent company” after several years working for super-indies, adding: “Ben and I have a long track record of making feel-good factual TV and a shared understanding of what makes great television.”

Gale said: “Little Gem’s creative vision is to make high-quality, entertaining factual programmes with outstanding editorial at their heart.”

Originally posted: Broadcast Now