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by | Aug 3, 2020

The information contained in this Guide and on this page is proprietary and only available to Discovery producers.  It is not to be shared with other parties.

Please see below sections as applicable to your production.


US Background Checks


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Background Checks

The information contained in this Guide and on this page is proprietary and only available to Discovery producers.  It is not to be shared with other parties.

Once a background check is available, your attorney should review it.  If there are any concerns with the results, those concerns must be flagged to the assigned BLA Executive when the background check is uploaded to the portal.


When to Conduct a Background Check


  • Producer must facilitate, secure, and review background checks on new producer-held talent who serve as a host/co-host/competitor/ensemble personality, if the talent (1) appears in more than one episode commissioned by any Network; or (2) appears in a primary manner (i.e., as more than just a background character) in any episode where children are involved in the production.
  • Producer must facilitate, secure, and review background checks on any new business that appears in a primary manner in more than one episode.
  • With respect to pilot programs, background checks should be conducted for new talent and businesses if it is anticipated that the talent or business will be engaged in the series, if ordered.
  • Background checks for talent and businesses must be renewed every two years and every year if minors are involved.


Background checks of production crew are not required unless children are involved in the production. When children are involved, Producer must obtain and review background checks on every crew member in the field, including “any day players.” The background checks must be performed on every crew member in the field upon each season renewal.


Additional Considerations

  • The Network may request Producer to facilitate, secure, and review background checks on talent, businesses, or crew who fall outside the standard criteria.
  • Background checks for the most recent 7 years (unless otherwise dictated by any local, state, federal or international law) should include at minimum a search on all: (1) criminal, civil, sex offender, driving history, and a comprehensive print/media (including social media) and internet records; (2) education, and other professional credentials should be checked if they’re essential to the creative.
  • Producers should defer to the Network on the level of background check to conduct.
      • Should any of the adverse criteria below apply to any talent or business, Producer will not cast the applicable talent/business, and will notify the Network in writing for further discussion.
      • Talent and/or the business has been convicted of a felony within the past 7 years.
      • Talent is currently on probation for a felony or under a restraining order.
      • Talent has an outstanding/active warrant of any kind.
      • Business has an outstanding arrest and/or distress warrant.
      • Talent has been convicted within the past 7 years of any misdemeanor involving assault, battery, theft, fraud, sexual conduct, and/or any criminal activity involving minors or animals.
      • If talent is required to drive for purposes of production, talent has been convicted with more than one DUI or reckless driving within the past 24 months.
      • Any Internet, press or other public information confirming talent’s and/or the business’ participation in more than one instance of conduct that (i) violates Discovery’s Talent Social Media Guidelines; (ii) could cause Discovery, its affiliates or subsidiaries any harm or public disgrace; (iii)  is disparaging or defamatory, and/or discriminates against a third party due to their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, status as a veteran, and/or sexual orientation; or (iv) shocks or offends the community, and/or brings talent into public disrepute, contempt, or ridicule.
      • To the extent that talent’s or the business’ financial situation may affect any element to the creative, then: (i) talent and/or the business has a pattern of material financial issues (e., with bad debt in excess of $100K in aggregate); (ii) bankruptcy within the past 7 years; (iii) tax liens; (iv) outstanding child support as it relates to talent) within the past 7 years; or (v) civil judgments within the past 7 years.
      • Any other adverse information which could materially interfere with production or exhibition of a program.
  • Producer must always conduct a sex offender database search on each person who has not already undergone a full background check that included a sex offender database search) accessing the production set/location – whether as talent, crew or otherwise – if minors (18 years old or younger, unless otherwise dictated by the applicable law[s]) are involved in the production of the program. Sex offender database searches must be conducted for each new season per series. Producer shall not permit any registered sex offender to access a set/location on which minors are performing or are otherwise present.
  • All producer-held talent agreements with talent must be contingent upon background checks.
  • Producer must budget for all associated background check and sex offender database search costs, and may use any qualified vendor of its choosing subject to the Network’s approval, provided the required searches are conducted.
  • The Producer may not unilaterally decide to forego or waive a required background check. If for any reason the Producer believes that a required background check is not warranted, then the Producer is required to discuss the circumstances with the Network.
  • The Network may waive a required background check. The waiver must be authorized by the Network SVP or higher, in consultation with the Network Legal & Business Affairs representative, and must be provided in writing.  A record of the background check waiver must be maintained by the Producer and the respective Discovery Business & Legal Affairs representative.
  • Working with minors? Please see the additional fact sheet located on the Portal under Policies – Working with Minors.
  • Questions or comments? Please email your production manager.
  • Local, state, federal and international laws, ordinances and regulations may restrict the breadth and scope of particular background checks. All background checks must be conducted in accordance with applicable law.


Preferred Vendors

While Discovery recommends the companies listed below as preferred vendors, it can make no representations or warranties as to the services and/or products provided.  Discovery encourages you to make an independent decision regarding the use of our preferred vendor services and/or products. Discovery cannot be responsible for any issues that may arise in connection with your choice of these providers. You may use a vendor other than a preferred vendor, subject to the network’s approval.


Prudential Associates
9900 Belward Campus Drive, Suite 225
Rockville, MD  20850
Contact: Jared K. Stern, President
Phone: 301-279-6700 (Jared ext. 208)
Jared mobile phone 240-793-8081
Fax 301-251-0670

Hetherington Group
400 Ringwood Avenue
Wanaque, NJ 07465
Contact: Rachel Kronenfeld, Manager of Investigations
Rachel’s direct dial 201-747-7740
Main phone 973-706-7525
Main fax: 973-706-7526

XG Consultants Group Inc.
110 East 42nd Street, Suite 1302
New York, NY 10017
Main Email:
Phone: 212-499-1480
Fax: 212-499-1482
XG Contacts:
Michael Davis (
Rodney Davis (
Brian Davis (

International Background Checks


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Discuss with your Discovery Business Affairs contact if background checks are required, and what level of check needs to be obtained. When producing locally for Discovery Latin America or Asia please contact your Discovery Production Manager who will be able to advise on how to approach background checks within those markets.

Depending on the level of checks required, there may be a cost implication for the budget.

UK: Suggested Companies

PeopleCheck™ Limited
No.1 Berkeley Street
Tel: 0207 016 8900
Fax 0845 280 6400

GB Recruitment Staffs Ltd
61-63 Lower Street
Staffs ST5 2RS

Disclosure Scotland
PO Box 250
Glasgow, G51 1YU
Phone: 0870 609 6006
Fax: 0870 609 6996