“Big Brother” creator John de Mol is exiting amid a restructuring at ITV, the U.K. broadcaster that forked out £355 million ($436 million) for his firm Talpa Media. Variety understands that de Mol had three opportunities built into his deal to exercise his earn-out option at ITV and that he has chosen to do so at his second opportunity.
“John De Mol has chosen not to exercise his option to extend the earn-out period for a further three years as part of the Talpa Media acquisition and has decided to focus on the further development of his company Talpa Network as of 2020,” ITV said in a statement. “He will continue to provide management services to Talpa Media until the end of April next year.”
ITV said it would work with the formats impresario after his deal with the company ends. “ITV Studios has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with John De Mol since the acquisition of Talpa Media in 2015,” it said. “We wish John well and look forward to continuing our partnership with him via the first-look agreement between John and ITV Studios, in relation to future formats.”
The Talpa Media international business, which shops the company’s formats around the world, will be folded into ITV Studios. Talpa’s international boss, Maarten Meijs, will head up a new formats sales business, Global Entertainment, within ITV Studios. It will also take formats from Israel’s Armoza, a recent ITV acquisition, to market.
With de Mol’s departure, the Talpa brand will disappear within ITV. Talpa shingles Talpa Content, Talpa Productions and Fictie, and Mas Media and Vorst Media will be folded into ITV Studios Netherlands, which will be led by Karin de Groot as CEO and Edwin van der Veen as COO. Talpa Middle East will also be folded in and lose the Talpa moniker.
Earlier Tuesday, the departure of ITV Studios president for international Maria Kyriacou was announced with the news that she is joining Viacom to helm Channel 5 and a chunk of its European operations.
Kyriacou will not have a direct replacement at ITV Studios. Mike Beale will head up a Creative Network business under the new structure, developing and coordinating format development across the business. A Global Distribution unit will handle sales of drama and finished shows. It will be led by Ruth Berry, with sales teams based around the world.
ITV Studios COO David McGraynor takes on oversight of all of the commercial operations, including Global Entertainment and Global Distribution, with Berry and Meijs reporting directly into him. Sharjeel Suleman becomes ITV Studios CFO.