Lionsgate, Skydance Media Ink Global TV Distribution Pact

Grace and Frankie Still - H 2015
Melissa Moseley/Netflix

Grace and Frankie Still - H 2015

Lionsgate and Skydance are teaming up.

The two companies have formed a global television distribution pact, they announced Monday morning. The launch of the newly-created label Skydance International (which will feature Skydance Media’s TV properties across the globe following their initial U.S. broadcast) will help beef up Lionsgate’s worldwide distribution pipeline, which currently disseminates nearly 2,000 hours of TV programming globally. 

The pact encompasses Skydance productions, including Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie and WGN American drama Manhattan, which is produced in partnership with Lionsgate and Tribune Studios, in addition to the new projects that Skydance is developing specifically for the international marketplace. Among those in development are two fantasy series: Lore, which is executive produced by McG (Supernatural) and written by Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class), and Madness of Angels, which is inspired by Kate Griffin’s six-book series, with Neil Burger (Limitless, Divergent) attached to direct and executive produce and Ben Vanstone slated to pen the script.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Skydance Media, one of the hottest and most dynamic film and television studios in the industry,” said Lionsgate’s president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer. "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 Media founder and CEO David Ellison added: “We believe joining together with Lionsgate – one of the most cutting-edge and creative content companies in the world – will strongly position the Skydance Media brand for success as we make our debut in the international television marketplace. 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.”

In conjunction with the news of the pact, Skydance Media announced the hire of Brandon Zimon as senior vp of international television sales and co-productions. He joins Skydance from Sony Pictures Television, where he spent over a decade. As vp of international distribution there, Zimon was responsible for driving the value of various shows, including The Blacklist and Breaking Bad, as well as overseeing third-party acquisitions and co-productions, like the international distribution rights to Amazon hit Transparent.

“In this important new role, Brandon will be responsible for collaborating with Lionsgate to expand the reach of our new and existing television properties around the world and for independently executing international television acquisitions for Skydance Media,” said Skydance COO Jesse Sisgold, to whom Zimon will report.