Nellie Andreeva

SANTA MONICA, CA, (October 13, 2011) – Continuing its expansion into non-scripted programming, LIONSGATE has entered into a three-year joint television venture with Banca Studio, the company recently formed by Roy Bank, an accomplished reality producer (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?) and former President of Television for Merv Griffin Entertainment.  As part of the launch of this new venture, Lionsgate has also made a deal with Merv Griffin Entertainment to purchase the slate of production and development originated under Bank’s recent tenure there, including this summer’s NBC game show Its Worth What?, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, Bloomberg Television’s The Mentor, and the upcoming Million Dollar Mind Game premiering October 23 on ABC. The announcement was made today by Lionsgate Television Group President Kevin Beggs.

“Roy embodies the kind of expertise and entrepreneurial spirit we prize so highly,” said Beggs.  “He has had impressive success as an innovative producer and industry executive, and we look forward to an exciting collaboration.”

Brian Veskosky will join Bank at Banca Studio, serving as EVP and overseeing all facets of the business.  Mark Itkin and William Morris Endeavor were instrumental in partnering Bank and Merv Griffin Entertainment with Lionsgate.

“My dream has always been to launch my own production company and continue to create programming that I can be proud of and people will enjoy,” Bank said. “Having the power of Lionsgate behind me and working day-to-day with executives like Kevin Beggs and Sandra Stern is an incredibly exciting and powerful way for me to achieve that dream.”

Bank led the resurgence of the late Merv Griffin’s brand at Merv Griffin Entertainment with such shows as ABC’s Million Dollar Mind Game, NBC’s Its Worth What? and Bloomberg Television’s The Mentor, in which budding entrepreneurs get help from the CEOs of some of the nation’s best-known companies. The Mentor is currently in production on eight new episodes for season two.

Prior to his tenure at MGE, Bank served as Head of Development, Production and Corporate Operations for Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) where he worked on The Apprentice and Rockstar: INXS among other primetime shows, as well as daytime programming including Martha, and Gold Rush on AOL.  In 2007, he orchestrated a major shift in the type of programming MBP is known for with the introduction of two primetime network game shows he created and executive produced:  Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, which launched on FOX as the most-watched game show premiere in television history, and Amnesia starring Dennis Miller for NBC.

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