Graham King is planting his flag in the television business. The prolific producer-financier has recruited Lionsgate TV exec Craig Cegielski to head the new GK-TV division of his GK Films banner.
The company will focus on programming with strong international appeal in an effort to capitalize on the growing appetite at U.S. nets for international co-production and co-financing deals. The major nets have been increasingly open to picking up series and miniseries produced outside the U.S. and striking co-production deals with foreign entities.
King called the expansion into TV “the next logical step” for his company, which has become a major player in the film biz with its savvy approach to financing and foreign pre-sales plus King’s strong ties to heavyweight talents like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“We see great growth potential in television,” King said.
Cegielski has deep relationships in the global TV community, having spent nearly five years as exec veep and head of Lionsgate TV’s international distribution arm.
Before Lionsgate, he spent six years working in production and development for Paramount Intl. Television and working on format sales and production for CBS/King World Intl.
Cegielski said the company intends to follow the model that has worked for King on the film side by partnering with top creatives who bring a strong vision to a project from the get-go. They will be opportunistic in pursuing co-production ventures and developing projects with specific broadcasters and specific markets in mind.
“We’re not looking to make TV shows on a whim,” Cegielski said. “We’ll maximize our efforts by targeting specific broadcasters early in the process.”
GK-TV can also serve as a partner to networks that develop projects internally but then need a studio to see them through in production. “We’re going to be able to provide networks and creators great opportunities and resources to bring their ideas to fruition,” Cegielski added.
He will serve as prexy of GK-TV, based out of King’s Santa Monica office. The two have been discussing the launch of a TV division since April, but GK-TV formally opens its doors for biz this week.
“There’s an amazing opportunity right now to work on projects that have a global perspective,” Cegielski said.