John De Mol formats next step

A lot of folks are looking up John De Mol‘s home phone number.

Come May, Holland’s best-known producer formally steps down as chief creative officer of Endemol, the company he built with Joop van den Ende and then sold to Telefonica in 2000.

“Unfortunately, the vision I had for the company and Telefonica’s slowly diverged, worsening over the last 18 months,” De Mol tells Variety.

De Mol says he’ll start looking to hire staff for his new outfit in May, and that he’ll be ready to unfurl his new banner this summer — and it most probably won’t be called De Mol Prods.

Having stepped down as chairman of Endemol in December, De Mol says he will operate under a non-compete clause until year’s end.

An affable, relaxed De Mol was in Los Angeles last week to pitch another slew of projects from Endemol USA, the offshoot company led by David Goldberg.

Endemol, despite Telefonica’s uncertainty, boasts 30 offshoots in 26 countries. Stateside, “Fear Factor” has become a $100 million franchise and is about to hit syndication, while ABC is airing “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and FX is prepping “Todd TV.”

As for competing against his alma mater, De Mol says simply, “It’ll be fun.”

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