Alaska News

NANA-owned Piksik, KTUU team up to make unscripted Alaska TV

Local film production company Piksik and television station KTUU have teamed up to create a new company they say will produce Alaska-based unscripted television content.

While the airwaves are already filled with dozens of Alaska-themed reality shows, the backers of the newly formed Alaska Media House LLC said their shows would be far more realistic than the current offerings clogging the cable channels.

Piksik is wholly owned by NANA Regional Corp. KTUU-TV is owned by Indiana-based Schurz Communications.

Piksik has been working with many national Alaska-themed reality shows, offering logistical support and other services, and has an array of contacts with distribution companies. KTUU-TV operates the state's largest and most-watched television station and newscast. Both companies said they believe the newly formed Alaska Media House will benefit from what each company brings to the venture.

"Piksik offers a lot of assets and attributes that benefit from their experience in logistics all over the state, and their ability to connect with the Alaska film industry," said KTUU director of marketing Brad Hillwig, who will serve as Alaska Media House executive producer. "We (KTUU) have a lot of creative folks and skilled people, and we have the ability to connect with folks and tell Alaska's story."

Hillwig said there is currently no plan to combine studios -- each company already has its own production facilities. Piksik General Manager Bob Crockett said he believes the collaboration will help the companies present Alaska as it really is, without the filter or seemingly overdone additions made to most of the reality shows featuring the Last Frontier.

"Not every network is going to be interested in what we will produce," Crockett said. "But we know Alaska. There is no one else producing these shows that are Alaskan with an Alaskan perspective, and we are out to change that."

Crockett said Alaska Media House has six different show concepts in development, and may have something ready for production by the late spring.

Both Crockett and Hillwig said that the potential loss of the Alaska Film Subsidy Program, which offsets the cost of producing Alaska movies and television shows with transferrable tax credits, is a concern, but it won't ultimately decide the venture's success.

"This is in the development stage and that's rarely a linear 'A to B' process," Hillwig said. "It typically involves some twists and turns, and we think that what we are saying when we launch this company is 'we are going down that path together.'"

Crockett said that all the employees of Alaska Media House would be Alaska residents, with most productions employing 15-20 people per episode.

Sean Doogan

Sean Doogan is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News.