During a keynote address this afternoon at Mipcom in Cannes, Lionsgate’s President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer proudly let slip the news that the company has entered a distribution pact with David Ellison’s Skydance Media. The deal comes in conjunction with the launch of the Skydance International label which will feature Skydance’s current and emerging premium TV properties around the world following their initial U.S. broadcast. Packer promised distribution models for the content would range from “the traditional to the disruptive,” with a focus on “innovative deals that reflect today’s dynamic television ecosystem.”
The pact covers programming led by Skydance series Grace And Frankie and drama Manhattan (produced in partnership with Lionsgate and Tribune Studios), as well as a number of new properties that Skydance is developing for the international marketplace.
Those projects include Lore, from exec producer McG and writer Zack Stentz; and Madness Of Angels, which is inspired by Kate Griffin’s six-book fantasy series. The project is executive produced by Neil Burger, who is also slated to direct, and scripted by UK-based writer Ben Vanstone.
As part of the new deal, Skydance Media has hired Brandon Zimon as SVP of International Television Sales and Co-Productions. Skydance COO Jesse Sisgold said the former Sony Pictures Television exec will be responsible for collaborating with Lionsgate to expand the reach of the company’s properties globally and for making international TV acquisitions. At SPT, Zimon worked on such titles as The Blacklist, Breaking Bad and Transparent.
Packer, who noted Skydance’s international success with such feature franchises as Mission: Impossible and Terminator, said, “The Skydance brand is synonymous with big, bold, quality entertainment events, and their television slate complements our global distribution pipeline. We’re excited to partner with them on all forms of global distribution, from the traditional to the disruptive, and we’ll focus on innovative deals that reflect today’s dynamic television ecosystem.”
Skydance founder and CEO Ellison added, “We’ve worked hard to create premium, branded content that will resonate with audiences worldwide, and this new partnership with Lionsgate will accelerate our ability to distribute our shows far and wide across platforms and around the globe in conjunction with the launch of Skydance International.”
The deal augments Lionsgate’s worldwide distribution pipeline; it currently handles nearly 2,000 hours around the world annually.