EXCLUSIVE: The North Road Company’s investment drive continues.
Peter Chernin’s company has acquired Little Room Films, the production company established by Jason Hehir, the director behind the hit basketball docuseries The Last Dance.
More from Deadline
It marks Chernin’s latest investment in the non-fiction space, having invested in Words+Pictures, the company started by former ESPN content chief Connor Schell.
Hehir has worked closely with Words+Pictures; in addition to producing and directing The Last Dance, which thanks to incredible footage and Michael Jordan’s participation became ESPN’s most-watched documentary ever, which was exec produced by Schell and Libby Geist, Hehir also directed and exec produced Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, the Netflix docuseries that was produced by Words+Pictures. He also worked closely with 30 for 30 co-creator Schell during his time at ESPN.
Little Room Films was founded by Hehir in 2021, in the wake of the success of The Last Dance. Hehir is also the director of HBO’s Andre The Giant documentary and his slate includes Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning, a documentary series for HBO produced in association with The Boston Globe that is coming out in December. He also has projects in the works with Netflix.
Hehir has won a number of Emmys over the years including Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series for The Last Dance. He will remain President of Little Room Films.
It is The North Road Company’s latest investment in a busy period. The company recently invested a “significant” stake in Two One Five Entertainment, founded by Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots, earlier this month.
On the non-fiction side, it continues to expand the companies operating under Words + Pictures. Last year, it acquired Jonathan Hock’s Hock Films and, in May, acquired an ownership stake in Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.
The North Road Company still has a lot of funding at its fingertips; it received $800 million last year including $500M from Providence Equity Partners and $300M in debt financing from Apollo Advisors, through its managed affiliates, as well as an additional $150 million earlier this year from the Qatar Investment Authority.
Words+Pictures’ slate includes a docuseries for Netflix about the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team’s 2023 World Cup run, The Yankees Win for ESPN, HBO’s The Lionheart about the late champion motorsports driver Dan Wheldon and an upcoming documentary about the late Christopher Reeve. The company also produces live shows via its Full Day Productions banner including The Netflix Cup.
“All of us at Little Room Films are thrilled to join forces with The North Road Company. Peter [Chernin] and David [Nevins] are building a creative powerhouse, and we are excited to be a part of it going forward. I’m also looking forward to continuing a long and successful partnership with Connor Schell, Libby Geist, and the incredible team they’ve built at Words + Pictures. Connor is a visionary leader and a trusted collaborator. I’m excited for the possibilities ahead and grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such talented partners,” said Hehir.
Schell said, “Having worked with Jason so many times, we have seen firsthand his ability to consistently tell the most compelling, high-end, and broadly resonant stories. Little Room is a perfect fit in the North Road portfolio, and we are so excited to offer the resources to help support its continued growth.”
Best of Deadline