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Zodiak USA Rebrands, Appoints Tony Yates as CEO

Tony Yates Headshot - P 2013
Tony Yates

The production company behind "Celebrity Wife Swap" and "Secret Millionaire" is restructuring and changing its name to Zodiak Los Angeles.

Zodiak USA, the production company behind ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap and Secret Millionaire, is rebranding as Zodiak Los Angeles, and has promoted Tony Yates to CEO.

As CEO of Zodiak Los Angeles -- which will serve as the West Coast nonscripted production base for Zodiak Americas -- Yates will manage a programming slate that includes Celebrity Wife Swap and Secret Millionaire along with truTV's Killer Karaoke.  

Yates, who joined the company in 2006, most recently was chief operating officer at Zodiak Americas. He has executive produced 160 episodes of the syndicated version of Don’t Forget the Lyrics for 20th Television, VH1 and My NetworkTV, and has served as point executive on shows such as Fox's Don’t Forget the Lyrics and Lifetime's How to Look Good Naked.

Before joining Zodiak, he was a producer on such reality shows as ABC's Super Nanny and HBO's Project Greenlight, as well as on the syndicated news magazine Hard Copy.

"Tony has over two decades of television experience, from syndication to network formats to cable docu-series, and everything in between," said Zodiak Americas CEO Jonny Slow, to whom Yates reports. "His production expertise along with his incredible relationships both within the community and the rest of the Zodiak group make Tony a fantastic choice to lead Zodiak Los Angeles through the next phase of its growth."

As part of the restructuring, Yates has upped David Wollock to senior vp development. Wollock, who was vp development at Zodiak's creativity and innovation unit in Los Angeles, has helped create shows including Univision's Dale Con Ganas, Animal Planet's My Cat from Hell and The CW's The Next.

Current production at Zodiak Los Angeles will continue to be led by senior vp Dave Shikiar and casting by senior vp Sunny Agans. All will report to Yates.

"Zodiak has a great opportunity to expand its presence in North America," Yates said. "I’m excited to be working with Jonny and the wider Zodiak Americas team as we move from being a one-stop shop for formats to expanding into other genres including live events, ramping up our syndication efforts and engaging in more third party and talent partnerships." 

Zodiak USA was most recently led by CEO Natalka Znak, who departed the company in April when her contract expired after less than a year in the post.

Meanwhile, Zodiak New York will remain as the division’s East Coast production base, focusing on character-driven docu-series for East Coast-based cable networks. It will continue to be led by chief creative officer Mike Gamson and chief operating officer Sheila Cabano. Both report to Slow.