A history of creativity, passion and outstanding success.
FremantleMedia was created in 2001 and is the sum of a number of major companies. Some of these have been operating for many years under Pearson Television, whilst others have had a long and illustrious independent history - including UFA which dates back to 1917. This timeline illustrates the key milestones in our history and how FremantleMedia has grown to be a global leader in television production and programming.
Founded: Universum-Film AG (UFA)
UFA is the oldest production company operating under the FremantleMedia name. During WWI, it created propaganda and some world-class films.
UFA production centre
The Neubabelsberg Bioscop studios served as a production centre, alongside studios in Berlin-Tempelhof.
The Neubabelsberg Bioscop studios housed Europe's largest contemporary sound stage. UFA makes the iconic Metropolis.
After a difficult financial crisis, UFA was taken over by the Scherl Group, owned by publisher Alfred Hugenberg.
Produced: The Blue Angel
Josef von Sternberg made the talkie "Der Blaue Engel".
After the National Socialists came to power, iconic film makers Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Erich Pommer emigrated.
Merger: UFA-Film GmbH
UFA, Tobis, Terra, Bavaria and Wien-Film merge under the Gleichschaltung - a forced standardisation of political and social institutions under an authoritarian regime.
Occupation: UFA offices
On 24th April 1945, units of the Red Army occupied the UFA grounds.
Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft (DEFA) – the first film production company in post-war Germany, was founded on 17th May.
Launched: This Is Your Life
Launched in Britain (BBC1), moving to ITV and Thames Television in 1969.
Launched: The Price Is Right
The longest-running gameshow in TV history and remains the number one American daytime entertainment show.
Bertelsmann acquired Universum Film AG, as well as shares in UFA-Theater. The Murnau Foundation protected the rights to former UFA films.
Launched: Thames Television
Thames Television launches in the UK.
Launched: The Benny Hill Show
An award-winning format running for over 30 years, the show featured zany songs and inventive film sequences.
Acquisition: UFA Theater AG
Meanwhile, the Riech Group acquired UFA-Theater AG from Bertelsmann and continued to run it under UFA.
Launched: The Sweeney
A ground-breaking drama about the Flying Squad, an elite investigation unit of the London Police.
Launched: George & Mildred
A spin-off from Man about the House, the show ran for five series between 1976 and 1980.
Launched: Morecambe & Wise
Produced by Thames Television, the classic duo performed sketches and musical routines, achieving huge British ratings.
Launched: The Bill
The UK's longest-running police drama.
A huge hit for Network TEN in Australia and BBC1.
Launched: Going for Gold
On air since 1988, Going for Gold (Questions Pour un Champion) is the number one game show on France 3.
This award-winning show brought the blue skies and beautiful beaches of Southern California to 1 billion viewers worldwide.
UFA production companies
Since 1991, the UFA production companies have been managed by Wolf Bauer, Norbert Sauer and Axel Reick.
Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten
Germany’s first daily serial drama – and still the highest-rated.
Launched: A Place in the Sun
The number one drama on Rai 3 with a 2010 audience of 2.8 million viewers.
Acquisition: Pearson Television
Pearson Television acquires SelecTV, which includes Alomo productions who make Birds of a Feather and Goodnight Sweetheart.
Acquisition: Pearson Television
Pearson TV buys All American Fremantle, adding The Price is Right, Family Feud and Baywatch to their programming strength.
Launched: Between Friends
Hungary's first ever daily serial drama and number one to this day.
Launched: Grand Designs
Channel 4's most successful property show peaking with an audience of over 5 million viewers in 2008.
Merger: RTL Group
Pearson Television merges with CLT-UFA, forming the RTL group.
Launched: The Farmer Wants a Wife
The highest-rated entertainment show in the Netherlands since 2003. Nearly one third of the population tune in.
New Name: FremantleMedia
FremantleMedia is born and is the new company name for the content production division of RTL group.
Award Winner: Pop Idol
The UK's Pop Idol wins Europe’s top television award – Rose d’Or (The Golden Rose of Montreux).
FremantleMedia acquires Crackerjack Productions - one of Australia’s most creative entertainment production companies.
Launched: How Clean is Your House?
This domestic reality series has aired in more than 12 countries worldwide.
Launched: The X Factor
Launched in the UK on ITV and has gone on to become the UK's highest-rated talent show this decade.
Neighbours celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Launched: Hole In The Wall
FremantleMedia acuires the Japanese format, which later became the most successful format of 2008.
Launched: Die Flucht
This German TV movie was the number one drama of the year with an audience of 11.2 million viewers.
Record Breaker: American Idol
Breaks new records, surpassing 3 billion votes since it's launch in 2003.
Launched: Take Him Out
A spin off from Take Me Out, this launched in Indonesia with two million viewers watching the first programme.
Record Breaker: Britain's Got Talent
One of the highest-rated talent show this decade in the UK peaking at 19.3 million viewers for the 2009 final.
Ratings Smash: The X Factor
The grand final of season 6 attracted nearly 20 million viewers and a massive 62% audience share.
For a full summary of our history and timeline click here.