Meredith shuts down production unit before Apple+ show ‘Home’ debut

A Meredith video production unit behind a new Apple+ show called “Home,” set to debut next month, is shutting down.

Bruce Gersh, the president of a Meredith entertainment division that included the production unit, Four M Studios, is exiting the company, Media Ink has learned. About 10 full-time staffers will be laid off.

The “Home” show is still expected to launch as a weekly show on Apple’s new streaming service on April 17. It was initially expected to be screened at South by Southwest later this month, but Apple pulled out of the music and film festival due to the coronavirus scare.

Meredith, the company behind People magazine and Better Homes and Gardens, is not abandoning plans to produce or license video shows for its own properties, sources said. It just won’t do it anymore for outside clients, like Apple.

The company will continue, for example, to produce “Southern Living TV” — a show based off its Southern Living magazine — with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Sid Evans and Patrick McCreery, president of Meredith Local Media.

It will be shown on the 17 local TV stations owned by Meredith.

And the weekly “People Now” show, which is currently playing on 17 Meredith owned-and-operated stations, will become a Monday-Friday daily celebrity news show and be renamed “PeopleTV” in September.

Gersh was previously at Time Inc., which he joined in 2016 before the $2.8 billion sale to Meredith that wrapped up in January 2018. He survived the transition and is best-known as the executive who helped stop a sale of Entertainment Weekly after the merger. The magazine reduced its publishing frequency to monthly in August.

Gersh had no hands on publishing experience but was a seasoned TV executive and the hope was that he could help diversify Time Inc.’s product offerings in long form video. Four M Studios at the end was being overseen by the TV station side of the operation and so it fell to McCreery to dole out Thursday’s pink slips.

“I thank the Four M Studios team for its contributions and wish everyone well in the future,” McCreery said in a statement.

He pointed to the “Southern Living” shows and “PeopleTV” as the type of projects that Meredith will pursue in the future.

“With this programming, we own all the intellectual property and can distribute the content across all platforms, including our popular digital sites such as People.com. That’s an important point of distinction from what we were doing at Four M Studios.”

Gersh did not return a call from Media Ink.

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