Live events production outfit Joe Lewis Company (JLC) and formats distributor Small World IFT have struck a strategic partnership, expanding the reach of both. .

JLC, whose events clients include U.S. studio majors, the Academy Awards, Disney, the Grammys, Netflix, NFL and the Special Olympics, is diversifying into TV entertainment and expanding into the lucrative Middle East and North Africa market. Spearheading this push as JLC entertainment hub will be Small World, rebranded as Small World International, though continuing to operate as an independent format sourcing and distribution company.

Small World, founded by Tim and Colleen Crescenti, are formats veterans, with their successes including the discovery of Nippon TV’s Japanese format “Tigers of Money” that was reinterpreted as BBC’s “Dragons’ Den” and ABC’s “Shark Tank”; as well as CJ E&M’s Korean format “Grandpas Over Flowers” that was reborn as NBC’s “Better Late Than Never” (pictured), starring Henry Winkler, William Shatner and George Foreman.

In June, Small World struck a first-look agreement with MGM Television to expand their global formats division.

“Over the last 20 years, JLC has worked its way to the top of the U.S. events market, producing thousands of experiences across sports, live-TV and red-carpet premieres,” said JLC founder Joe Lewis. “Diversifying into international TV entertainment feels like a logical step — and who better to lead JLC into this next phase of its development than my old friend and colleague Tim Crescenti?”

“Tim and I met 20-plus years ago at Sony Pictures, where I was working in the mailroom and Tim was a rising star in the emerging TV formats market,” Lewis added. “You could say we’re putting the band back together. Better still, we’re heading out on an international tour.”

Crescenti said, “It’s fair to say that the last month has seen our Small World get a lot bigger! Hard on the heels of our first-look deal with MGM, we’re now entering into a transformational partnership with Joe Lewis, which will bring new creative and commercial opportunities for us both. Formats will always be at the heart of Small World, but it feels the right time to expand into other areas of entertainment. After 15 years of Small World, Colleen and I are ready to embark on an additional challenge.”

Crescenti will continue to serve as president of Small World.