BET GREENLIGHTS NEW UNSCRIPTED DOCU-SERIES
FROM RENOWNED FILMS
New York, NY– April 16, 2019 – Today, BET Networks announces its new 10-part one-hour docu-series “COPWATCH AMERICA.” Executive produced by London-LA based creative production company Renowned Films and Critical Content, the new original series, is a groundbreaking, high stakes, and controversial dive into the men and women on the front lines fighting police brutality and injustice. This action-driven, character-centric series gives viewers exclusive access to America’s fearless and distinct copwatch crews.
Across 10 frenetic episodes, “COPWATCH AMERICA” cross-cuts the incredible stories of “copwatchers” from two U.S. cities, some of whom are life-long activists and others who are new to the movement. Through these characters, viewers will come to understand the specific issues facing each community. Armed only with their cameras, these "copwatchers" fight every day to protect citizens, amplify the truth, and keep abuses of power in check. As the series embeds with major Copwatch organizations in America's most volatile cities, viewers will get to know the real heroes behind the cameras and the personal stories that compelled them to put their lives on the line for this cause. Examining all sides of the story, from police officers who insist they are just trying to build up their communities, to the copwatchers determined to speak truth to power, you never know what you might see next.
“BET Networks is committed to bringing important stories of systemic issues of race and justice across our nation to light. We are taking this on in a way no other brand and network can, through platforms like our powerful ‘Finding Justice’ franchise and our upcoming original docu-series Copwatch America,” said Marisa Levy, VP Head of Unscripted, BET Networks. “We look forward to partnering with acclaimed storytellers Renowned Films and Critical Content and continue to empower our community and focus on activists who use video cameras to protect the rights and in some cases, the lives of African Americans in police encounters.”
Created by Renowned Films “COPWATCH AMERICA” is co-produced by Renowned Films and Critical Content. Executive Producers are Max Welch, Tim Withers and Duane Jones for Renowned Films and Tom Forman for Critical Content.
Max Welch, Executive Producer, and Co-Founder Renowned Films said “We’re incredibly excited to be working with BET, and the Copwatch movement on such an important and powerful series. “Copwatch America” will be shocking, eye-opening, exhilarating, explosive must watch action getting to the core of one of the biggest issues facing America, its police and the communities they serve today. Prepare for plenty of confrontation, powerful personal stories, injustices, and debate, as we capture the groundbreaking stories of those on both sides of the story in search of truth.”
Duane Jones, Executive Producer, and Co-Founder Renowned Films commented, “It has never been more of an important time to bring the remarkable stories of cop watchers across the US and their continued fight against injustice to the public. Renowned understands how important the conversation sparked by “Copwatch America” will be, and we look forward to working with BET to dig deep into this complex narrative. With never-before seen, unprecedented access to the frontline over ten compelling episodes, we will detail the personal experiences of those affected on all sides by this deadly epidemic.”
“I’ve spent my career telling law enforcement stories, but never from this perspective. Not even close. Hats off to BET for allowing us to tackle this subject matter in a way that speaks to their audience and this time,” added Tom Forman, CEO, Critical Content.
ABOUT BET NETWORKS
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in nearly 85 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER (formerly CENTRIC), a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET Networks around the globe.
ABOUT RENOWNED FILMS
Renowned Films, founded in 2013 is a London and LA based production company backed by leading US independent studio Critical Content. It is officially one of the fastest growing independent producers globally. In 2015, Channel 4 took an equity stake in the company as part of its £20 million Growth Fund. In 2017 Critical Content acquired an undisclosed stake in Renowned with Channel 4 exiting the business. The transaction signalled the formation of a strategic partnership between Critical Content and Renowned to augment Critical Content’s international expansion and foothold in the UK market, alongside boosting Renowned's UK growth and allowing the business to capitalise on its rapid US success. The partnership saw CEO of Critical Content Tom Forman and EVP / CFO Christoph Pachler joining the board. Since 2015, Renowned has exponentially climbed the top 100 list of independent producers ranked by turnover; having climbed 50 places in the last 12 months reaching number 4 of 5 ranking in the fastest growing producers for 2018. Over the first 6 years of the business, Renowned has fast established itself as a leader in high end factual and factual entertainment programming. Renowned’s mission is to disrupt traditional media and create innovative, attention grabbing, engaging and compelling factual entertainment, documentaries and formats, all with a fresh perspective, difficult deep access, supporting new talent, and with a thought-provoking tone of voice. We have big ideas and a broad set of specialisms, craft great stories, engaging characters and have great awareness of channel brands, audience trends and insights, making content that cuts through noise in order to be noticed.
ABOUT CRITICAL CONTENT
Critical Content is a leading global independent content studio. Launched in October of 2015, the company focuses on unscripted and scripted programming for broadcast, cable and digital platforms. Critical Content currently has more than 50 projects in production for more than 30 different networks. Recent series include “Catfish” (MTV), “Very Cavallari” (E!), “StayHere” (Netflix), “Get a Room with Carson & Thom” and “Backyard Envy” (Bravo), “Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour” (A&E), “Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?” (FOX), “Caribbean Pirate Treasure” (Travel Channel), “The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey” (CBS, Netflix), “The Great Food Truck Race” (Food Network), “Disney’s Fairytale Weddings” (Freeform), “Racing Wives” (CMT), HOME FREE (FOX), “StartUp” (Crackle, Amazon), “Limitless” (CBS), “Pretty.Strong.” (Oxygen), and “Young and Hungry” (Freeform).