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Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz are looking for their next act. The veteran unscripted producers, who sold their prolific Magical Elves shingle to British media giant Tinopolis Group in 2014, are leaving the company they founded after a 18-year run.
Per the transition agreement, the duo will continue to work on their current series — particularly Project Runway, which Bravo is relaunching after losing it to Lifetime a decade ago, and longtime flagship Top Chef. Under Cutforth and Lipsitz, Magical Elves has also launched the recent Netflix breakout Nailed It! and has the long-running WE effort Braxton Family Values.
“It would have been hard to imagine when we started the company that we’d be this fortunate with our partners and collaborators, from incredibly smart and supportive distribution partners, and amazing talent, to a gifted team of producers, production staff and employees — and of course the team at Tinopolis,” the duo said Wednesday in a statement. “We’re proud to have created a culture of collaboration and risk-taking, so core to the success of the work we all do. As independent producers, we’re excited to continue telling stories that showcase extraordinary, creative people and innovative voices. We are grateful to Tinopolis for being great partners on every front, for their consideration in respecting our choice, and for working with us on a transition that puts our shows and talent first.”
Cutforth and Lipsitz sold a majority stake of Magical Elves to Tinopolis for $100 million at the height of the reality consolidation boom, when European media companies were gobbling up independent unscripted producers for often obscene sums of money. That year also saw Brent Montgomery’s Leftfield go to ITV and SallyAnn Salsano’s 495 Productions sell to Fremantle. Many of those initial deals to stay on board under the parent companies are due to expire within the coming year (or have already).
In their return to independent production, Cutforth and Lipsitz will maintain their professional partnership. More details about their next act are expected to come in the coming months. Hardly bound to just reality programming, their robust shared résumé also includes the hit documentaries Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Air Guitar Nation — as well as Reese Witherspoon’s recent interview series, Shine On. Cutforth and Lipsitz have earned two Emmys for their work on Top Chef.
“Tinopolis is home to many of the industry’s most successful and respected producers, in the U.S and across the globe, and Dan and Jane have been tremendous contributors since our acquisition of Magical Elves in 2014,” said Tinopolis Group founder Ron Jones and CEO Arwel Rees in their own statement. “Against the backdrop of a continually evolving business, they have consistently helped us deliver thousands of hours of quality content as part of a world-class team. Dan and Jane’s creativity and professionalism have been their hallmark and those values will continue to be nurtured within Magical Elves through this transition and beyond.”
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