Endemol buys stake in Ensemble Entertainment

Part of company's strategy of expanding U.S. scripted TV

Global producer-distributor Endemol has just bought an unspecified minority stake in Tony To's Ensemble Entertainment as part of its strategy of expanding its U.S. scripted TV portfolio for distribution worldwide.

To, one of the founders of Ensemble, specializes in so-called event TV, having been co-exec producer and/or director on such high-profile series as "Harsh Realm," "From the Earth to the Moon," "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific." He is a four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Golden Globe winner.

The new partnership will concentrate on co-producing and distributing internationally targeted drama series and miniseries for the world market.

"We founded Ensemble with the goal of creating an independent event television company, bringing innovative financing, management and creative resources into partnerships with top-tier writers, directors, producers and broadcasters.

Our partnership with Endemol represents a key strategic alliance for Ensemble," To added.

Tom Toumazis, chief commercial officer of Endemol, said the partnership reps "another significant step in our ongoing strategy for growth in scripted programming."

The deal comes on the eve of MIPCOM in Cannes, where Endemol will be talking up the new arrangement to foreign program buyers.

"We believe Ensemble's productions will be in great demand around the world," Toumazis added.

The deal was brokered by Endemol's EVP of North American acquisitions Philippe Maigret and Ensemble co-founder Patrick Murray. No financial details were made available.

Endemol Worldwide Distribution will retain distribution rights outside of the U.S. with Endemol Worldwide Brands extending the projects across multiple platforms.
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