ITV America Stamford production hub set for 2020 opening



STAMFORD — Reality-show powerhouse ITV America and entertainment-startup Wheelhouse Entertainment said this week that they were planning to open a production hub next year in the city’s South End, an announcement that indicates construction is on track for a project launched last year.

Announced in May 2018, the two firms intend to establish production and post-production operations at 860 Canal St., in a building that has been gutted and is being rebuilt into a 133,000-square-foot structure. The state is supporting the initiative — which is expected to create about 450 jobs in Stamford — with a $6 million loan to ITV America and a $3 million loan to Wheelhouse Entertainment.

“Construction at 860 Canal is going well, and we expect to be in the building in spring 2020,” ITV America and Wheelhouse said in a joint statement.

A message left for the state Department of Economic and Community Development was not immediately returned.

ITV America already maintains a significant presence in Connecticut, with about 100 working in the state, across departments including production, post production and casting.

In October 2017, the business opened offices at 850 Canal St.

The firm describes itself as the largest independent non-scripted producer in the U.S. Its show portfolio includes “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The Four” on Fox; “Pawn Stars” and “Alone” on History; “Fixer Upper” on HGTV; “Real Housewives of New Jersey” on Bravo; and “Queer Eye” on Netflix.

“It’s a great sign when a company like ITV says it will consolidate a bunch of its operations in Connecticut,” Catherine Smith, the state’s then-economic development commissioner, said in May 2018. “This is a good indicator that we have the right talent and location. We’ve always felt digital media had a place in the state.”

Wheelhouse’s production arm, Spoke Studios, maintains a production partnership with ITV America, which also maintains offices in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

ITV has attracted other media businesses to the area. Last year, British transcription, translation and captioning company Take 1 took space within the Canal Street offices.

Stamford’s roster of media companies also includes NBC Sports Group and WWE. The latter announced in March that it would relocate its headquarters from the city’s East Side to a downtown hub at 677 Washington Blvd.

NBC Sports has its own incentives deal with the state, which supported the 2013 opening of its 300,000-square-foot complex at 1 Blachley Road. The agreement allotted up to about $26 million in loans.

A number of production centers operate elsewhere in the city, including hubs at the Shippan Landing complex in the city’s Shippan section, and on the West Side, near Stamford Hospital.

Last year, Connecticut hosted more than 1,200 media-related businesses, which employed more than 16,000 people, according to state data.; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott