Though Nicely Entertainment is a young company, having launched in 2020, it has fast become a leader in providing feel-good TV movies. In less than four years’ time, the company has built a library of 80 films and is averaging 20 original films each year. Alongside its feature films, Nicely has developed and produced three scripted TV series—with more in the development pipeline. “We’ve expanded our client base, working directly with all major U.S. and international platforms and broadcasters—such as Hulu, ITV, M6, Netflix—and have grown our staff significantly,” says Scott Kirkpatrick, executive VP of distribution and co-productions. “On top of that, we’re expanding into new genres—including a few edgier projects—and have elevated our on-screen cast by hiring names such as Denise Richards and Ashlee Simpson to play major roles.”
What’s driving this growth isn’t some trade secret, Kirkpatrick says: “We’re producing very strong content, focusing on core genres and putting a major emphasis on reliably delivering high-quality, well-produced programs to our broadcast and VOD partners. We make every content decision by putting audiences’ and our clients’ needs first. And my sense is that we’re only starting to ascend a strong growth curve.”
Nicely’s core offering is family-friendly and female-driven feel-good content. “Every company has its unique flavor or take on certain genres,” Kirkpatrick adds. “Although we’re not the only company in the romance, family or Christmas romance space, we’re producing very inspirational and uplifting films that genuinely tap into what audiences truly want. We focus on smart and modern female protagonists, ones who have built successful lives but have found themselves at a crossroads. Opportunity comes knocking—generally through an external influence (a friend, a sudden required work trip)—that forces our protagonists out of their comfort zone. From this, they’re able to recalibrate and make that next big move in their lives (whether it be finding the perfect romantic match, reconnecting with family or utilizing their talents to further their own careers—or a combination of all three of these); we get to watch these young women better themselves and the people around them. This is especially fun when we add a splash of ‘fish-out-of-water’ storytelling, which is certainly how a few of our 2023 originals came about—e.g., our UPtv original Christmas at the Amish Bakery, our Great American Family original Romance at the Vineyard or even Reporting for Christmas, which premieres on Hulu in November.”
The company is bringing 18 brand-new films to MIPCOM. Highlights include the Denise Richards-led A Christmas Frequency, which will premiere on Hulu this November; the romance films One Perfect Match and Romance at the Vineyard, which both premiered this summer on Great American Family; and Nicely’s first-ever disaster/adventure film, Super Icyclone, which was produced via presales with Germany, Italy and Canada. Nicely has also made its first foray into the cozy mystery genre with the Pure Flix original The Abigail Mysteries. “Not only was this Nicely Productions’ first movie (Nicely’s mini studio launched in Arizona late last year), but I’m excited to share that the cozy mystery is definitely a genre we’ll be exploring further,” Kirkpatrick says. Also a highlight, the Lifetime original The Holiday Proposal Plan, starring Tatyana Ali, is set to premiere during this Christmas season.
Nicely has been averaging 20 original productions per year; 2023 has it at nearly 25 projects. “This is more than enough to keep us quite busy without overdoing it,” Kirkpatrick says. “To be candid, we’re not operating with a ‘minimum’ number or seeking some arbitrary growth target; at Nicely, we’re focused on brokering deals that make sense and projects we’re excited to get behind. Our main goal remains to deliver quality content to all our partners while focusing on great stories that we can develop internally with our team. We’re completely independent; we focus on the projects we want to get involved with and work closely with our clients and partners to provide them with exactly what they’re looking for. Not only has that allowed us to create a library of 80 films in just over three years, it’s also allowed us to guarantee strong production values and reliable output.”
He adds that the company aims for a “win-win” in its co-production strategy, evaluating opportunities and collaborating with the most impactful partners it truly wants to build projects with. “We’re not sprinters; we’re marathoners,” says Kirkpatrick. “And when we co-produce with a partner, we want that to be a long-term arrangement.”
As for acquiring third-party content, the bulk of the company’s acquisitions fit perfectly into Nicely’s overall genre wheelhouse of female-led feel-good content, but there is room for slightly edgier fare if there’s market value. Pickups that Nicely is presenting to the marketplace include Merry Textmas and The Christmas Venue, along with the Australian coming-of-age comedy tween film Finally Me. “We’re very much open to speaking with clients about individual titles or even slates or libraries,” Kirkpatrick adds.
Alongside CEO and founder Vanessa Shapiro, Kirkpatrick and the Nicely team are looking forward to a productive MIPCOM and continued growth globally. “The U.S. market has experienced quite a few shifts over the past few months, but at Nicely, we remain full steam ahead,” Kirkpatrick says. “We cannot wait to get back to Cannes, reconnect with clients and make some new content opportunities come to life.”
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