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Ben Silverman in the ‘Kitchen’

Electus heats up Asian drama import

Ben Silverman has found another international TV format to bring to the U.S.

The man who helped import the BBC’s “The Office” and Colombian telenovela “Ugly Betty” has set his sights on Asian format “The Kitchen Musical.” The distribution arm of his company, Electus, has struck a deal with Singapore-based the Group Entertainment in association with Small World IFT. to take Stateside the scripted drama, which has “Glee”-esque musical elements set in the culinary world.

Silverman’s goal is to land “Kitchen” on a broadcast network once he begins formally pitching in September. ” We think it’s a big, broad, accessible idea that’s got a bit of everything: a cooking element, a musical, an ‘Upstairs/Downstairs’ dynamic and a little bit of ‘Romeo and Juliet,'” he said.

“Kitchen” is set to debut in October across 18 countries in Asia over a mix of broadcast and pay TV channels. A TV musical will mark a first for the region. The story concerns a rich girl who goes to work at a restaurant after graduating from famed Paris culinary school Le Cordon Bleu.

Electus would co-produce the U.S. version and retain distribution rights across all platforms. The Asian version is currently being shot in Singapore. “We are excited to be teaming up with Electus/Engine Distribution to bring this never-before-seen multiplatform format to audiences all over the world,” said Nelia Sutrisno, CEO of the Group Entertainment.

Silverman said he’s already got an experienced showrunner and choreographer-director who he can’t yet identify on board and will look to add top talent as well. He also sees “Kitchen” as a property with plenty of ancillary possibilities given what he’s seeing being exploited already in Asia, including a cookbook, live tour and stage musical.

While this is Electus’ first scripted format in Asia, the company has been busy locking up formats from other spots on the globe for American adaptations. Last year, Silverman sold the Spanish format “I Hate This Place” to ABC with Sofia Vergara attached as a producer, and it will soon take out another format from South America, “Mafia Dolls.”

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