Endemol adds scripted gun in Toumazis

Will take up post of chief commercial officer

LONDON -- Dutch reality TV powerhouse Endemol has wooed Disney's most senior European executive, Tom Toumazis, to the newly created post of chief commercial officer.

It's the first major move for CEO Ynon Kreiz, who took Endemol's reins in May.

Toumazis -- who just six months ago was named Disney TV's managing director Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada -- will take over Endemol's commercial activities globally. His mandate is to expand the distribution business into drama and comedy as well as build a portfolio of third-party rights.

Toumazis is reckoned to be one of the most affable and strategic executives among the coterie of top international TV sales executives, and he exceled at getting top dollar for key Disney dramas.

Arguably, Toumazis led a team at Disney which raked in, in program sales, more than $1 billion a year in revenues for the Burbank-based conglom.

Endemol, the creator of such global hits as "Big Brother," "Deal or No Deal" and "Wipeout," is not as well known for its programming outside the reality and game show genres. It has a library of 2,200 nonscripted formats compared with about 200 scripted titles.

But Kreiz -- the former Fox Kids Europe CEO -- is convinced the private-equity-owned company's existing global production network can be leveraged to expand its content portfolio.

"The reason we are doing this is because we are in a very strong position, with production offices in 25 countries and direct relationships with hundreds of broadcasters," he said.

Toumazis, expected to begin within the next few months, welcomed the opportunity to shape Endemol's global strategy.

"Endemol has a uniquely powerful network that combines a long-established presence in the world's biggest markets with a vast and growing library of multiplatform content," he said. "This is an exceptionally strong starting point from which to build further."

Toumazis has been at Disney for seven years. During his tenure, he was responsible for the sales of such hit dramas as "Lost," "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy," features including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films and the kids franchise "High School Musical."

Among the Hollywood majors, Disney is the only one to headquarter its top TV sales exec in London rather than in Los Angeles. It is unclear who will replace Toumazis, a Brit, in his current role or whether his responsibilities will be divvied up differently.

Endemol was purchased last year by Mediaset, original founder John de Mol and Goldman Sachs.