EXCLUSIVE: Dutch media entrepreneur John de Mol‘s company Talpa already has established a presence in the US with NBC’s reality hit The Voice, co-created and executive produced by de Mol. Now de Mol is taking that presence to the next level, turning Talpa Media USA into a full-fledged independent production company and hiring Simon Jones to run it. Jones joins Talpa Media USA as CEO after a six-year stint at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment. For the last two years, Jones served as COO of Syco Television USA, overseeing all of Syco’s TV operations in the US and helping establish the company’s US operations. Jones, a 20-year TV veteran, started off in his native Britain before crossing the pond. He served as Controller of Business Affairs at ITV, Executive Producer of American Idol for FremantleMedia and SVP Operations for the The X Factor and Got Talent franchises at Syco. He also ran the successful X Factor UK arena tour and a live stage version of America’s Got Talent in Las Vegas. “At a moment like this, people are used to say that they have found the right man for the job. So sorry for the cliche, but Simon is exactly that!,” said Talpa Holding CEO Pim Schmitz. “Simon’s appointment with Talpa Media USA fits in Talpa’s strategy to have our own production companies in the key markets of the world. Other territories will follow, but of course the US is number one when it comes to that strategy.”
In addition to The Voice, Talpa Media USA’s credits include NBC’s upcoming singing game show The Winner Is… and the 2009 ABC series Dating In The Dark, all three based on worldwide Talpa formats. All three have been done as co-productions, with another company handling the actual production. While Talpa Media USA will continue to partner up with other companies when needed, it is looking to transition to producing more and more of its own shows and to grow its portfolio of broadcast and cable reality series. Talpa’s US plans are reminiscent of the way de Mol built a strong U.S. production arm of his previous global media company, Endemol. “This is a fantastic opportunity to work at such a dynamic and ambitious company headed by the – almost legendary – John de Mol,” Jones said.
Talpa, based in Laren, the Netherlands, is the holding firm that incorporates John de Mol’s media activities. Over the past few years, Talpa Holding has established itself as a full service development, production and distribution company for programming developed primarily for television. The launch of Talpa Media USA expands the company’s global footprint. In 2010, Talpa acquired a stake in Russian producer Mir Reality. Talpa also has 50-50 joint ventures with local production companies in key international territories, including Shine France in Francophone European markets and Shine Australia in Australia and New Zealand, Puji Star Media for the Greater China Market, Nordisk Film TV for Scandinavia and Finland, Axel Springer’s Schwartzkopff TV in Germany and SPT Arabia for Northern Africa and the Middle East.