Los Angeles – 02 Sep 2014

Years of Living Dangerously Wins 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary of Nonfiction Series

Multimedia entertainment studio Electus, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI) today announced that Years of Living Dangerously, which Electus International acquired the international rights to earlier this year, won the 2014 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

Electus International has sold the docu-series to broadcasters in over 75 countries and regions including Australia (SBS Television), Italy, Turkey (National Geographic Channels International), Spain (AMC Networks International – Iberia), Central and Eastern Europe (AXN), Latin America (National Geographic Channels International), and the German Pay TV window was sold to RTL's New Documentary Channel, RTL GEO.

Over the course of nine episodes, the multi-part docu-series travels throughout the world to feature character-driven narratives with real people facing the crippling effects of climate change, the politics of global warming, and the efforts made to find solutions to the problem.

"Years Of Living Dangerously's Emmy win further proves that the far reaching effects of global warming and the producers and stars willingness to bring this major worldwide issue to the forefront of the public's consciousness provide for ground breaking television," says John Pollak. "We're confident that this powerful and proactive series will resonate with viewers the world over."

The show was created by former 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber (winners of a combined 11 Emmy Awards) and executive produced by James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Weintraub (producer of the Ocean's Eleven franchise) and climate change expert Daniel Abbasi. Former 60 Minutes producer Solly Granatstein (winner of seven Emmy Awards) and Avatar Alliance Foundation executive director Maria Wilhelm are co-executive producers. Chris Cooper-Hohn, Rena Shulsky David, Jeremy Grantham, Barbara and Amos Hostetter, Christian Kruger, as well as Susan and Stephen Mandel are co-producers of the series. Joseph Romm, former Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy, author and editor of ClimateProgress.org is Years' chief science advisor.

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Los Angeles – 28 Aug 2014

Netflix's Marco Polo Sets December Premiere Date

Netflix’s 10-episode first season of original series Marco Polo will premiere at 12:01 AM PT on December 12. Based on the famed explorer’s adventures in Kublai Khan’s court in 13th century China, Marco Polo stars Italian newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy Marco. Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Joan Chen (Twin Peaks) and Benedict Wong (Prometheus) also star along with Remy Hii, Olivia Cheng, Claudia Kim, Uli Latukefu, Chin Han and Tom Wu. Creator John Fusco and Harvey Weinstein are exec producers along with Dan Minahan (Game Of Thrones, True Blood) who directed two first season episodes. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg helmed the season’s first two episodes and also serve as exec producers, along with Ben Silverman and Chris Grant of Electus. Patrick MacManus serves as co-executive producer. Collin Creighton produced on behalf of The Weinstein Company

New York – 15 Aug 2014

From Iceland With Laughs

Bored to Death showrunner Jonathan Ames is adapting the Icelandic dramedy World’s End (Heimsendir) for the U.S. premium cable network Showtime. The show is about a high school English teacher who has a breakdown and winds up in a mental institution. There, he begins to feel “sane” and eventually becomes the leader of an inmate revolt.

Showtime is developing the pilot as a half-hour version based on the hour-long Icelandic original, which is from Sagafilm. Originally titled Heimsendir, the show debuted in Iceland in 2011 as a nine-part miniseries that was set in 1992. It aired on Channel 2, scoring a peak share of 67 percent, and was nominated for four Edda Awards, which are Iceland’s version of the Emmys. Heimsendir also aired on Yle in Finland.

Ames is penning the script and executive producing alongside Ben Silverman, the chairman and founder of Electus, and Bored to Death EP/manager Stephanie Davis. Eli Shibley, the senior VP of Electus International, and Silverman played an integral role in bringing the show to the U.S.

“Based on the overview of the story, a glaring need in the U.S. market for a humanistic approach to mental illness, and a trust and belief in the steady creative hand of our partner in Sagafilm and their ability to execute on the highest level, we partnered on World’s End before a full English-language script was ever even available,” says Silverman. “This is not typical of our process, but from story to script to the sizzle reel, and eventually to the Icelandic episodes, the project just continued to get better.”

Even though the story originated from Iceland, Silverman believes that it is universally relatable, given that it’s about a community of people learning to live with themselves and each other through adversity. “It’s warmhearted and extremely funny, and anyone who has ever been in a workplace or a school or on a sports team can relate to the dynamic and will find more truths about themselves and their lives than they might expect to find in a show where the majority of the characters suffer from mental illness,” says Silverman.

He continues, “The original series was set in the past, so our focus with Jonathan Ames, our incredible partner and writer on the project with Showtime, was to update the story and characters to reflect the subtleties of a modern American context and deliver a script with a level of humor that sat comfortably alongside what Showtime is already succeeding with in the half-hour space.”

Kjartan Thor Thordarson, the chairman of Sagafilm, echoes the sentiment that the series has universal appeal regardless of its origin. “The larger themes explored within the story revolve around such diverse issues as health care, privatization and democracy, which are not only hot-button topics but literally touch upon the lives of every citizen, whether they [like it] or not,” says Thordarson. “And since revolution is a huge part of the story and the motivations of the characters, it should be a great fit for the U.S., a country born out of revolution with a constitution that is a cornerstone in the democratization of Europe.”

Thordarson says that the American version will stay faithful to the original but with a few tweaks. “Since the asylum is a [microcosm] and a metaphor for the outside world, there is a lot of leeway to stay faithful to the setting,” he says. “But more local characteristics will be adjusted to reflect characters that might seem more familiar to U.S. audiences. Jonathan Ames has the perfect touch needed to adapt this in the best possible manner and I have perfect faith in him doing the series justice.”

World’s End may just be the first in a wave of new projects to come out of Iceland, a market that both Silverman and Thordarson believe the international community should keep a close eye on. “Iceland is a country with a rich and varied cultural heritage, ranging from a long history of Viking sagas and mythology to a voracious appetite for modernity,” says Thordarson. “Situated in the middle of the Atlantic, it has influences from both sides of the pond, which makes for a fertile, creative atmosphere. Icelanders are storytellers at heart; our only entertainment throughout the centuries, ever since Iceland was populated, was telling stories by the fire that kept us warm during the harsh winter. Storytelling is in our DNA.”

Silverman adds, “Compared to other countries throughout Europe and its sister countries in the Nordics, Iceland is a relatively young country in terms of creating original series. The rules are now being written, which provides an incredibly fertile creative landscape, and Sagafilm is at the forefront of defining this industry. Creatives are taking chances; they are redefining rules and experimenting with new themes and new ideas. This is all while maintaining the same sensibilities as their neighboring countries that are well known for creating scripted formats that have traveled the world over, such as The Killing. Iceland is breaking through at a time when the world is hungry for the next great global franchise, and the team at Sagafilm is poised to deliver this hit to the world!”


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Los Angeles – 12 Aug 2014

Food Fighters Optioned in Trio of New Territories

Electus has secured options for the format of the Adam Richman-led culinary competition Food Fighters in Germany, Sweden and the Middle East.

Food Fighters was snapped up by Endemol in Germany, Nice in Sweden and Creative Ventures in the Middle East. The show, which has already been optioned through Electus International in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, looks on as amateur cooks compete against professional chefs for the chance to win a cash prize. It currently airs on NBC in the U.S. and CTC in Russia.

"This one-of-a-kind culinary game show has really grabbed the attention of viewers and buyers alike," stated John Pollak, the president of Electus International. "When we first heard [exec producer] Tim [Puntillo]'s pitch, we knew Food Fighters possessed all the unique elements necessary for it to establish itself as a franchise for any network, and now that the show has become a hit in the U.S., we are excited and committed to seeing its potential through around the world."

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New York – 08 Aug 2014

Smile – “Candid Camera” Premieres August 11th on TV Land!

Viewers can smile again, because “Candid Camera” is back with a fresh new version on TV Land starting Monday!

The newly rebooted series, with hosts Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Peter Funt, airs new episodes Monday, August 11th through Thursday, August 14th at 8pm ET/PT, before taking its regularly scheduled spot on Tuesdays at 8pm ET/PT, starting on August 19th.

“Candid Camera,” which is executive produced by Funt and Electus Studios’ Ben Silverman, features gags that catch unsuspecting people in bizarre, challenging and hilarious situations.  Each episode will feature gags that have fun with some of today’s most buzzed about topics from a garage that won’t service straight people to a mailman revealing he has been replaced with a drone. These modern scenarios, coupled with classic “Candid Camera” comedy, prove that laughter is timeless.

The premiere episode, airing Monday, August 11th, sees patients become increasingly confused when their dental hygienist is actually a mobile device instructing them to perform their own exam.  CHECK OUT A SNEAK PEEK HERE. The episode also features guest star Megan Hilty (“Smash”), who baffles mechanics in a classic “then and now” gag (first pulled years ago on the original “Candid Camera”) when she rolls into their garages asking for an inspection, only for them to find that the car has no engine.

Future episodes will feature more guest stars pulling off gags on an unsuspecting public. New York City’s Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg will encourage aspiring rappers to improvise lyrics with non-existent words, singer/actress Carnie Wilson poses as a jittery tattoo artist much to her customers’ terror and baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson joins as a special guest with a mystifying magician.

Before reality television even had a name, the original “Candid Camera,” created and hosted by Allen Funt, introduced the hidden camera concept to television in 1948, and the series continued in several iterations over the course of more than 50 years.

Ben Silverman's multimedia studio Electus and Peter Funt's Candid Camera, Inc. are co-producing the series, with Funt and Silverman serving as executive producers. Larry W. Jones and Keith Cox will serve as executive producers for TV Land.

About TV Land
TV Land is the programming destination featuring the best in entertainment on all platforms for consumers in their 40s. Consisting of original programming, acquisitions, and a digital portfolio, TV Land is now seen in over 98 million U.S. homes.

About Viacom
Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA) is home to premier global media brands that create compelling  television  programs,  motion  pictures,  short-form  video,  apps,  games, consumer products, social media and other entertainment content for audiences in more than 160 countries and territories.  Viacom’s media networks, including  MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, BET,  CENTRIC, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, Nick  at  Nite, Comedy   Central,   TV   Land,   SPIKE,  T?3s,  Paramount   Channel and   VIVA,  reach approximately  700  million  television  subscribers  worldwide. Paramount  Pictures, America’s  oldest  film  studio,  is  a  major  global  producer  and  distributor  of  filmed entertainment.

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London UK – 31 Jul 2014

Objective to remake King of The Nerds for Sky 1

Sky 1 is to remake US entertainment format King Of The Nerds after striking a deal with Ben Silverman’s Electus and Objective Productions.

The pay-TV broadcaster has ordered an 8 x 60-minute version of the show, which is produced in the US by 5X5 for cable network TBS. Objective will make the UK version of the show, which will air later this year.King Of The Nerds, which will be presented by former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, will test 11 contestants’ intellect, ingenuity, skills and pop-culture knowledge.

The male and female ‘nerds’ live together in a house called Nerdvana and compete first as teams and then as individuals, with one being eliminated each week.The show is one of Sky 1 director Adam MacDonald’s biggest entertainment commissions since his appointment last year. It was ordered by MacDonald and entertainment commissioner Barbara Lee, and is exec produced by Objective’s Adam Adler and Shannon Delwiche.

The series producer is Ross Curran and it is directed by Ashley Meneely. “These intelligent men and women will push their brain power to the limit, but in the end there can only be one winner,” said Lee.The deal is the first major format sale for Electus in the UK.The company, which was set up by Silverman and is run by former Shine exec Chris Grant, has been targeting the UK for the past couple of years.

Eli Shibley, senior vice-president of international media and formats, and Electus International president John Pollak have made a number of trips to the UK, both to sell formats and to pick up the rights to British projects.

Electus International will distribute the UK version of King Of The Nerds and will continue to sell the format globally.  

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Los Angeles – 30 Jul 2014

Tv Ratings: 'Food Fighters' Gets A Boost

NBC saw a nice week-two bump for Food Fighters.

After a soft 1.0-rated debut last week, the cooking competition rose 30 percent for a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49.

A steady America's Got Talent (2.4 adults) secured a nightly win for the network in both the demo and total viewers.

ABC was the only other network with original competition, airing steady episodes of Extreme Weight Loss (1.1 adults) and Celebrity Wife Swap (1.0 adults). The latter was also on par with last summer's finale.

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Los Angeles – 24 Jul 2014

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Mayim Bialik to Host ‘Candid Camera’ Reboot

“I have a new side gig,” the actress formerly known as Blossom says

Smile, Mayim Bialik; you're going to be on “Candid Camera.”“Big Bang Theory” actress Bialik has come aboard as host of TV Land's upcoming reboot of the classic hidden-camera series “Candid Camera,” the network said Thursday.

Also read: ‘Candid Camera’ Gets a TV Land Reboot: EP Peter Funt Talks ‘Derivative’ Shows, Drones, and a More Gullible PublicBialik chimed in on her upcoming duties via Twitter, writing, “I have a new side gig.”As reported in April, Peter Funt, son of “Candid Camera” creator and original host Allen Funt, will co-host the series as well as serve as executive producer. 

Silverman's multimedia studio Electus and Funt's Candid Camera, Inc. are co-producing with Silverman also executive-producing.

Also read: ‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Mayim Bialik Tweets Pre-Thanksgiving Divorce Plans “Candid Camera” began as a radio show as “Candid Microphone” in 1947, later moving to TV in various incarnations over the ensuing decades.

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Los Angeles – 09 Jul 2014

Italian net makes date with Electus

An Italian broadcaster has lined up a local version of MTV dating format Girl Get Your Mind Right, to be produced by prodco Ambra Banijay Italy.

Italia1 will air a 33-episode series titled Come Mi Vorrei. Originally made by DiGa Vision for MTV in the US, the format follows a dating expert who helps young women with relationship or dating issue.

The format is distributed globally by Electus International and the deal with Italia1 was completed by Cyrus Farrokh, VP of Electus International and head of sales to Italy.

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