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Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth to Exit Magical Elves Banner

“Top Chef” and “Project Runway” producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth are leaving Magical Elves, the powerhouse unscripted the duo founded in 2001.

The pair said Wednesday they intend to return to their roots as independent producers after a transition period. Los Angeles-based Magical Elves was acquired in 2014 by British production group Tinopolis. Tinopolis chairman Arthur Smith, another prolific unscripted TV producer, will oversee production activity on Magical Elves shows as the founders move on.

“Against the backdrop of a continually evolving business, they have consistently helped us deliver thousands of hours of quality content as part of a world-class team,” said Tinopolis chairman Ron Jones and CEO Arwel Rees in a statement. “Dan and Jane’s creativity and professionalism have been their hallmark and those values will continue to be nurtured within Magical Elves through this transition and beyond.”

Magical Elves has ranked as one of the industry’s most successful unscripted TV shops. Its active roster of shows at present includes Bravo’s long-running culinary competition “Top Chef,” Netflix’s “Nailed It” and “Sugar Rush,” We TV’s “Braxton Family Values” and Oxygen’s “Cold Justice.”

Lipsitz and Cutforth just returned as exec producers of the fashion competition series “Project Runway” a few months ago, after the show relocated from Lifetime to Bravo. Magical Elves launched “Runway” in 2004 on Bravo but left the show in 2009 when it moved to Lifetime.

Cutforth and Lipsitz had been in discussions with Tinopolis for some time to sort out their future. The pair signed a multi-year employment contract with Tinopolis at the time of the acquisition. As the expiration of that contract approached, Cutforth and Lipsitz began to consider their options. There’s no specific word yet on the duo’s future plans.

“It would have been hard to imagine when we started the company that we’d be this fortunate with our partners and collaborators, from incredibly smart and supportive distribution partners, and amazing talent, to a gifted team of producers, production staff and employees — and of course the team at Tinopolis,” Cutforth and Lipsitz said. “We’re proud to have created a culture of collaboration and risk-taking, so core to the success of the work we all do. As independent producers, we’re excited to continue telling stories that showcase extraordinary, creative people and innovative voices. We are grateful to Tinopolis for being great partners on every front, for their consideration in respecting our choice, and for working with us on a transition that puts our shows and talent first.”

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