Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley Reveal New Production Company's Development Slate
UPDATED: The former MTV execs officially announced DiGa, their partnership with Ben Silverman's Electus, at NATPE Monday morning.
NEW YORK – January 24th, 2011 –Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, the executives responsible for the development and creation of many of MTV’s biggest hits, and the key engineers in MTV’s recent ratings turnaround, today announced the formation of their new company, DiGa, with details on several new creative projects, ongoing series deals and pilot commitments, and initial executive appointments. DiGa, an independent production company, will create, develop and produce programming across all platforms in partnership with Ben Silverman<http://www.electus.com/company>'s <http://www.electus.com/company> multimedia studio, Electus<http://www.electus.com/ <http://www.electus.com/> >, an operating business of IAC [NASDAQ: IACI]. The company will be headquartered in New York City with a production/edit center in Los Angeles.
DiGa will leverage the signature style and unique voice of its founding partners to create and produce prime-time cable and network reality and scripted shows, feature films and digital content. The company’s approach to both scripted and unscripted content will include the on-point cultural relevance, distinctive visuals, and seamless execution that made DiSanto and Gateley’s shows so successful at MTV. The duo will employ creative diversity across a variety of genres and mediums with an eye towards reinvention, genre busting and commercial appeal, while continuing to discover, nurture and collaborate with great talent in front of and behind the camera.
With the formation of DiGa, the company is also today releasing an early look at several exclusive television projects in development, including: a comedy format from Nick Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment starring female personality Amanda Diva; a fashion series with an interactive element from Jill Martin, television personality and author of “Fashion for Dummies” and the upcoming “I Have Nothing to Wear”; three series with Jackhole Industries, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla and Daniel Kellison’s production company whose credits include ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central’s The Man Show and Crank Yankers; DiGa also has a number of scripted and reality concepts in active development. DiSanto and Gateley will continue to have a strong relationship with MTV Networks through multiple series development commitments between MTV and DiGa, as well as through DiSanto and Gateley's continued role as executive producers on the upcoming scripted MTV series Teen Wolf, a reinvention of the 1985 blockbuster film.
“Liz and I are thrilled to partner and form DiGa, the next logical step in our career as we look to expand on the work we did together at MTV as producers and executives. We look forward to creating and developing content in a variety of mediums and for new outlets, while also continuing a great relationship with MTV Networks, our long time home,” said Tony DiSanto, co-founder, DiGa. "We are also thrilled to align with Ben Silverman’s Electus as Ben is a visionary in the television, digital and branded entertainment worlds. His mastery of distribution and sponsor relations coupled with our hands-on development and producing experience will allow us to establish DiGa as a formidable content studio."
In 2009, DiSanto was named President of Programming of MTV where together, he and Gateley led MTV to new ratings and commercial heights with the shows Teen Mom, Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant. The duo was also responsible for ushering in a return to scripted programming with Hard Times of RJ Berger and the scripted series Teen Wolf. DiSanto and Gateley left MTV in December 2010 on the heels of the network’s largest ratings gain in over a decade.
“Tony and I have been working closely together at MTV for the past several years so it is a natural transition for us to become partners in this new venture,” said Liz Gateley, co-founder, DiGa. “We are fans of content that makes a cultural impact --whether it’s a series, a book or a film. That was our philosophy at MTV and we will strive to do the same at DiGa – to create quality content that resonates in pop culture.”
The symbiotic partnership with Electus gives DiGa the support and freedom to focus on great creative, while tapping into Ben’s genius at creating new models and marketplace foresight. Electus will retain exclusive distribution rights to all content and programming produced by the company with Electus’ International Distribution<http://www.electus.com/partners <http://www.electus.com/partners> > division distributing their projects internationally and aligning them with Electus’ advertising and marketing partners.
“Tony and Liz are two of the most talented and sought-after creators and show producers in the entertainment industry,” said Ben Silverman, CEO and founder of Electus. “With their dual expertise, experience developing and producing hit shows and their relationships in the community, DiGa will be a huge asset to Electus and a continued creative force in the industry.”
DiGa also announced the appointment of two members of its executive management team. Producer Mike Powers has been named Creative Executive, where he will be responsible for managing production and development for all DiGa ongoing projects. Working alongside Powers, Scott Silberman will serve as Executive in Charge of Production.
DiSanto, who first started out as an MTV production assistant in 1989, quickly rose through the ranks and built a highly successful twenty year career at the network. Earlier in his tenure at MTV, DiSanto was responsible for co-creating and developing hit shows including Total Request Live with Carson Daly, the biggest daily entertainment show MTV had ever done, Made, Human Giant, Andy Milonakis and Jersey Shore. In 2003, DiSanto served as MTV’s Head of Production where he supervised the studio, specials and events including Spring Break, New Year’s Eve and the MTV Beach House. He then went on to start an East Coast Development department for MTV and brought Gateley in to run it. In June 2009, DiSanto was appointed President of Programming of MTV where he oversaw all series, series development, special programming and production, supervised reality, scripted, specials, live programming, comedy, animation and feature films for television. He also led and provided oversight to program planning and scheduling for the network, where he led MTV through the highest ratings in the channel’s history.
Gateley joined MTV in 2003 as the Vice President of Development and quickly worked her way up to become Head of Series Development for MTV. In her first year at MTV she created the game-changing reality show Laguna Beach and executive produced the spin-off, The Hills. Other hits under Gateley’s tenure included Run’s House and America’s Best Dance Crew. In addition, Gateley developed the scripted series Hard Times of RJ Berger and the upcoming series Teen Wolf and That Girl (working title). Most recently, Gateley developed and executive produced two of MTV's newest reality hits, 16 and Pregnant and the pop culture sensation Teen Mom. Prior to MTV, Ms. Gateley worked at Lifetime Television where she was responsible for the development of primetime and daytime scripted and reality original series and specials, including Strong Medicine, The Division, Intimate Portrait and Weddings of a Lifetime.
Powers has been involved in television production and development for the past twenty years. He worked with DiSanto on launching and supervising Total Request Live, executive produced the first two seasons of MTV’s Emmy award-winning series Made and in 2003, Powers joined MTV’s East Coast Development department shepherding hit shows such as Roomraiders, Boiling Points, House, The X-Effect, Maui Fever and Life Of Ryan onto the air. In 2008, Powers became an independent producer and has since served as Executive Producer on a variety of MTV shows including College Life, Sex With Mom and Dad, The Buried Life and World Of Jenks, the latter of which was the highest-rated series premiere in MTV’s history. Over the course of his career, Powers has garnered numerous awards including a TV Guide Award for Total Request Live and a Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for a TV special on the band Good Charlotte.