Showtime Picks Up Polygram/UMG’s ‘Hitsville’ — “You’ve Never Seen Motown Explored and Remembered This Way”

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Showtime has reached a deal with Universal Music Group’s film and television division to distribute Hitsville: The Making of Motown in North America.

The feature-length documentary from Polygram Entertainment focuses on the cultural impact of Motown Records.  The enormously influential label will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this September.  The documentary will premiere this fall in the US, with plans for a theatrical release in the UK and Ireland.

The documentary is directed by Gabe and Ben Turner and focuses on the birth of Motown through its relocation to Los Angeles in the 1970s.  The label’s story is told through interviews with Berry Gordy, who founded Motown in 1958 in Detroit.

Gordy discusses many of the label’s superstar artists and creative figures.  Several newly unearthed performances and behind-the-scenes footage from Motown’s vaults appear in the film.  Some of the additional content comes from Gordy’s own personal archives with never-before-seen footage.

The result is a documentary that hopes to give a new perspective on the recording artists and songwriters who helped shape the Motown era.

Hitsville is the first Motown documentary with Gordy’s participation, who serves as an executive producer on the film.

Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice President of Nonfiction Programming, says the release is one of the best celebrations of Motown to date.

“You’ve never seen Motown explored and remembered the way that Gabe and Ben Turner do it here.”

The release is happening alongside a long list of other music documentaries, biopics, and other close-ups.  On a broader note, newfound SVOD kingmaker Netflix is pushing a wave of documentary releases, with audiences eagerly snapping them up.

Other executive producers on Hitsville include CMG Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, CMG COO, Michelle Jubelirer and Polygram’s David Blackman and Marty Bandier.  Fulwell 73’s Leo Pearlman is also credited as a producer on the documentary.