G3 Prods. partnering with Zodiak for formats, series

Kelsey Grammer is looking to add to his portfolio as a producer by diving into the unscripted biz.

Grammer has formed production entity G3 Prods. with reality TV maven Stella Bulochnikov-Stolper and has entered into a joint venture with Zodiak USA. Brian Sher, Grammer’s partner in his existing Grammnet Prods. banner, is also a partner in G3, which is solely focused on unscripted fare.

Partnership calls for G3 and Zodiak to develop series concepts and formats that can be sold and distribbed around the world through Zodiak’s extensive international infrastructure. (Paris-based Zodiak acquired U.K. powerhouse RDF Media last year.) G3 will have office space at Zodiak USA’s Santa Monica offices.

“It’s an ideal partnership for both parties — Kelsey brings to the table an iconic brand and, in return, we can offer him a global infrastructure and worldwide distribution,” said Tony Yates, Zodiak USA’s chief operating officer, who put the deal together with Grammer and Bulochnikov-Stolper’s reps at WME.

Grammer and Bulochnikov-Stolper are already in business together on the Starz drama “Boss,” which Grammnet is producing with Lionsgate TV, Sher and Bulochnikov-Stolper. Series earned an eight-episode order from Starz after a bidding war among multiple nets (Daily Variety, Nov. 19).

Bulochnikov-Stolper, a former VH1 programming exec and former partner in Ish Entertainment, and Grammer have known each other for more than a decade but have only recently found the opportunity to work together.

“I knew that Kelsey loved this space and would love to pop some big shows,” Bulochnikov-Stolper said. “The idea that he would lend his name and brain and star power to working on some formats was so exciting to me, and then to have a partner like Zodiak to produce them and sell them all over the world — that’s really going to produce some fireworks.”

Grammer said, “Combining all of our talents with the people at Zodiak USA makes for an even more exciting collaboration.”

The deal with G3 is a first for Zodiak USA, according to CEO Grant Mansfield. Company plans to be selective in its creative partnerships, but the combo of Bulochnikov-Stolper’s background in reality TV and Grammer and Sher’s connections made for a perfect fit, he said. Zodiak USA is looking to build on a busy first year of operations under the Zodiak banner, with 16 shows sold or on the air, including ABC’s upcoming “Secret Millionaire.””They’ve got fantastic contacts and great ideas,” Mansfield said. “We’ve got a big development department and an international distribution arm. I think it will be interesting to see what we can do together.”

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