In its second recent deal for a stake in an indie producer, Sky has made an undisclosed equity investment in Znak&Jones Productions. The group has also entered into a distribution partnership with the new shingle that was founded by veteran producers Natalka Znak and Simon Jones. With offices in Los Angeles, London and Atlanta, Znak&Jones develops original productions and sells and adapts international formats for both the U.S. and UK markets. It has a major pilot deal with ITV for classic format Name That Tune, and has projects in development with AMC, CMT and xBox.
Znak is the former CEO of Zodiak USA where she was responsible for overseeing the North American operations of Zodiak Media and produced over 20 projects including Celebrity Wife Swap and Secret Millionaire for ABC, as well as truTV’s two highest-rated series Hardcore Pawn and Lizard Lick Towing. Before Zodiak, she was Controller of Factual Entertainment for ITV Studios in London where she was responsible for creating and producing I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, Hell’s Kitchen, and Love Island.
Jones previously was CEO of Talpa Media USA where he managed the U.S. production operations for formats such as NBC’s The Winner Is… and The Voice. Before Talpa, he was COO of and ran Syco USA’s media operation for Simon Cowell and Sony Music. Earlier, at FremantleMedia, he set up American Idol, established the format’s worldwide brand and served as executive producer.
Under the deal with Sky, Znak&Jones will continue to operate as a distinct company producing directly for channels. All Znak&Jones finished programming will be distributed by Sky Vision. The investment follows Sky’s acquisition of a 70% stake in Love Productions in July and is part of its strategy to grow a broad, international content business spanning broadcasting, production and distribution.