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Ora TV Buys Stick Figure to Branch Out

Carlos Slim-backed digital network expands via pact for docu specialist

Ora TV, digital home to Larry King’s post-CNN talkshow backed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has acquired Stick Figure Productions, a specialist in docus and unscripted TV production.

Terms of pact not disclosed. New York-based Stick Figure founded by Steven Cantor and Daniel Laikind, who will both continue to lead the group under the Ora umbrella. Stick Figure is repped by WME.

Under Ora, renamed Stick Figure Studios will expand development and production teams and boost project slate for 2013 and 2014, according to Ora topper Jon Housman. Stick Figure has series and pics currently in development for cablers including HBO, A&E, ESPN, GMC, The Weather Channel, Lifetime and National Geographic Channel.

“They have a strong DNA in factual, unscripted programming,” Housman said.

Exec said very little will change day-to-day at Stick Figure, which is Ora’s first acquisition. “We will add a little bit of ability to do creative deal-making, add digital chops to the mix, perhaps Latin America to the mix,” he said.

Stick Figure has about 12 full-timers plus contractors. Privately held Ora has about 35 people.

Ora, which has studios in Glendale, Calif., launched in July 2012 with “Larry King Now,” available on Hulu and ora.tv. Housman declined to disclose viewer numbers but said Ora TV generates millions of unique visitors monthly.

Cantor said he and biz partner Laikind had been contemplating increasing resources and distribution. Joining up with Ora “seemed like a perfect fit,” he said. Studio now looking to step into short-form digital series and scripted programming.

Stick Figure, founded in 1997, has produced 250-plus hours of television for more than 40 networks, including “American Gypsies,” “Repossessed” and “Amish: Out of Order” (Nat Geo), “Family Bonds” (HBO), “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” (Style), “Amish in the City” (UPN), “#1 Single” (E!) and the digital series “The Biz,” produced with Lyor Cohen for Warner Music and AOL. Films include “Devil’s Playground,” “Reporter,” “No One Dies in Lily Dale” and “Unraveled.”

Gotham-based Ora (which means “now” in Italian) funded by telecom provider América Móvil, with a majority interest held by Slim. Startup has not disclosed funding raised.

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