Endemol co-founder back in the TV biz

Van den Ende expected to take 30% stake in Eyeworks

After more than five years away, Joop Van den Ende, billionaire co-founder of Dutch reality giant Endemol, is getting back into the TV biz.

Van den Ende is expected to reveal that his venture capital fund is taking a 30% stake in the Dutch production and distribution outfit Eyeworks.

Van den Ende, who now heads legit empire Stage Entertainment, created Van den Ende & Deitmers with former Endemol colleague Hubert Deitmers, with €150 million ($181.4 million) to invest in unlisted European media companies.

He said nearly two years ago that he would return to TV when his noncompete clause with Spanish media outfit Telefonica ended in January 2005. In the meantime he was a consultant for TV production firms, including Eyeworks.

“I like it very much, and I want to do more, to act as a sort of talent scout or matchmaker between talented people and companies,” he told Daily Variety at the time.

Eyeworks is run by CEO and founder Reinout Oerlemans, one of the Netherlands’ most popular entertainers. It has rapidly expanded into Germany, Belgium and Sweden. Main format “Test the Nation” is broadcast in 25 territories.

In February Eyeworks bought New Zealand-based international production house Touchdown Television, specializing in lifestyle sports and factual series.