Ben Silverman’s Electus International has secured global distribution rights for three unscripted series from Spike TV and will be selling them during NATPE 2012 January 23-25 in Miami. The series are foreclosed house-flipping show Flip Men, historic relic scavenger hunt American Digger and Car Lot Cowboy. The latter is a new show that follows Tom Stuker as he travels around motivating troubled car dealerships. Slated to air on Spike TV in April, Car Lot Cowboy is produced by Electus and 5×5 Media in association with Vem’s Sweatshop Media.
Ben Silverman and Chris Grant are reuniting at another startup backed by Barry Diller. Grant is joining Ben Silverman’s new company, IAC-owned Electus, as CEO effective November 1. He will be partnered with Electus COO Drew Buckley, both reporting to Silverman. Grant was one of the original staffers Silverman brought with him when he launched the Diller-financed Reveille in 2002. Grant headed international distribution for the company and, after Silverman’s departure to run NBC, Grant became a managing partner. Following Reveille’s acquisition by Shine Group, he became president of Shine International, the international sales and distribution arm of Elisabeth Murdoch’s company. Grant stepped down from his post in May after Shine, following its acquisition by News Corp., decided to relocate the headquarters of its sales and distribution unit from Los Angeles to London where Shine’s main offices are. Grant chose not to relocate but stayed on for a transitional period. “Watching Chris Grant grow into the finest and most sought after executive television has seen in a long time has brought me tremendous joy and pride,” Silverman said. “He was an amazing partner at Reveille, and will be an amazing leader for Electus.”
Former MTV president of programming Tony DiSanto and head of series development Liz Gateley, who left the cable channel on Dec. 31 to launch DiGa, an independent production company in partnership with Ben Silverman’s Electus, today officially announced the launch of the company and unveiled its first development slate. The announcement was made during Silverman’s keynote speech at NATPE. DiGa, a multi-media company, which will be based in New York City with a production/edit center in Los Angeles, is working on a comedy format from Nick Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment starring female personality Amanda Diva; a fashion series with an interactive element from Jill Martin, television personality and author of Fashion for Dummies and the upcoming I Have Nothing to Wear; and three series with Jackhole Industries, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla and Daniel Kellison’s production company. DiGa, which also has several scripted and reality concepts in active development, has multiple series development commitments with MTV where DiSanto and Gateley continue as executive producers on the upcoming series adaptation of Teen Wolf. (The two were also involved in the development of the network’s racy new drama Skins.) Additionally, DiGa announced the appointment of two execs: producer Mike Powers has been named creative executive, and Scott Silberman will serve as executive in charge of production.
In one of the first series orders for Ben Silverman’s IAC-based company Electus, VH1 has handed out a 10-episode straight-to-series commitment to Mob Wives, a reality series created and executive produced by Jennifer Graziano and produced by Electus and The Weinstein Co. This marks the first collaboration between Silverman and the Weinsteins.
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Silverman is returning to scripted television via the same route that made him an independent producer. ABC is finalizing a deal for a single-camera comedy based on the popular Spanish series Aquí no hay quien viva (loosely translated as I Hate This Place). Silverman will executive produce with Sofia Vergara, star of the network’s Emmy-winning family comedy Modern Family. Craig Doyle has been tapped to write the adaptation, which marks the first broadcast scripted project for Silverman’s IAC-based company Electus which he launched last summer following his rocky two-year tenure at NBC. I Hate This Place is a multi-cultural and multi-generational comedy in the tone of Modern Family and set in an apartment building. It follows the lives of an old school father and his corner-cutting son who must somehow work together to manage the outrageously eccentric tenants
MTV CHANGE-UP: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley Exit For ProdCo Backed By Ben Silverman; David Janollari To Get Upped
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV’s president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman’s Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president David Janollari, who joined MTV in January as EVP scripted development, will most likely be elevated to a top programming position at the channel. Janollari, who may not inherit DiSanto’s president of programming title, would probably oversee series but not specials, news and events. I hear Janollari has been offered the job and has until tomorrow to accept, which he is expected to do. DiSanto and Gateley are expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the transition.