Company acquires rights to 'Canada's Smartest Person'

CANNES — Electus Intl., the worldwide distribution arm of Ben Silverman’s shingle, has closed a raft of deals on the first season of “Fashion Star,” the reality show hosted and exec produced by Elle Macpherson.

Deals, unveiled on Monday at MipTV in Cannes, include Australia (Network 10), Canada (CTV), French Canada (Mlle, a specialty channel of TVA), Korea (CJ E&M), and Brazil (Globosat), as well as across Asia (Diva Universal) and Latin America (Fox Intl. Channels Latin America). Format deals were also closed in Australia (Network 10), Germany (Tresor TV), France (Shine France) and Turkey (Sera Films).

The NBC show also features Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos serving as celebrity mentors to 14 emerging fashion designers who compete for a contract to launch their clothing lines in Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

At MipTV, Electus Intl. acquired worldwide distribution rights for “Canada’s Smartest Person,” a two-hour primetime show and interactive TV special produced by Robert and Shari Cohen’s Media Headquarters.

The program’s app allows viewers to compete with finalists in real time with the broadcast.

One of pubcaster CBC’s top rated shows, it drew 875,000 viewers as the winner was announced with 25% of the viewers playing along. “It opens so many new doors to the whole experience of watching TV that is totally interactive,” Robert Cohen said.

“At Electus, we always look at different ways of doing television, whether it’s with shows like ‘Fashion Star,’ which gives you the ability to buy clothes online, and actively participate in building of a brand; and with ‘Canada’s Smartest Person,’ the play-on element is really what brought it to us,” John Pollak, prexy of Electus Intl.

“What sets us apart from the other distributors and super indies out there is that we’re not looking at opening up production companies around the world, and that’s very important to our business model. We want to get formats like this into the hands of the best producers and the best broadcasters in every territory, and not feel like we have to put our third-party content through a specific producer who might not have great game experience.”

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