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CBS Buys Stake in Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment

CBS has bought a stake in producer Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment banner and will handle worldwide distribution of its TV series.

The company’s current shows include HBO’s “Divorce,” Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet,” CBS’ “Life in Pieces,” Showtime’s “The Chi” and ABC’s “American Housewife.” Kapital has five pilots ordered so far for the 2017-18 network development cycle.

Kapital Entertainment will operate autonomously from the Eye’s CBS Television Studios arm and retain the flexibility to sell to non-CBS Corp. outlets. The first project to fall under the deal is Kapital’s CBS comedy pilot “9J, 9K and 9L,” from writers Dana Klein and Marc Feuerstein, with Feuerstein also set to star.

“CBS is a content company, and this new venture immediately establishes another source to create more programming assets for our distribution pipeline,” said CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves. “Aaron is a talented and creative producer, a skilled program packager and a very smart businessperson.”

Kaplan emphasized that the deal offers him financing and strong worldwide distribution along with the independence to “continue matching a creator’s vision to the broadcast, cable or streaming home best suited for their project” and to co-produce with outside studios.

Kapital recently recruited former 20th Century Fox TV comedy exec Dana Honor to help shepherd its growing slate. The banner also has production pacts with former CBS comedy head Wendi Trilling, producer Tracy Katsky and writer-actress Sharon Horgan.

Kaplan was a WMA veteran who was head of scripted TV content at the time of the agency’s 2009 merger with Endeavor. He launched Kapital Entertainment the same year and made an early splash with the ambitious Fox drama “Terra Nova,” which brought Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin together for a big-budget fantasy drama complete with CG dinosaurs.

Other series that Kaplan assembled include ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” and “The Neighbors,” NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura,” Freeform’s “Chasing Life.”

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