Duffy departs Zodiak USA, joins Electus

Zodiak USA's LA-based executive VP and head of development Mike Duffy (pictured) has left the producer-distributor, realscreen has learned, taking on a role at Ben Silverman's indie Electus.
June 19, 2011

Zodiak USA’s LA-based executive VP and head of development Mike Duffy (pictured) has left the producer-distributor, realscreen has learned, taking on a role at Ben Silverman’s indie Electus.

Duffy has joined IAC-backed Electus as MD of branded content. He is the second major development exec to leave Zodiak USA in as many months, following the departure in April of Lauren Gellert, the firm’s New York-based senior VP, who left to join ION Networks, as previously revealed by realscreen.

Electus was founded by Silverman with Internet mogul Barry Diller following Silverman’s departure from NBC in 2009, and bills itself as “the first integrated multimedia company to unite producers, creators, advertisers, and distributors under one roof.” It aims to bring brands onboard projects early on in the development process, to have a greater say in how a show turns out.

Among the existing branded entertainment properties on Electus’s slate is NBC’s Fashion Star, an Elle Macpherson-fronted reality competition series being made with Project Runway indie Magical Elves; and Ready, Set, Dance!, a 12-episode web property produced with Yahoo! and sponsored by State Farm.

It is understood that Duffy will not be directly replaced at Zodiak USA, but that his development responsibilities will partly be overseen by Tim Sullivan, Natalka Znak and Grant Mansfield.

The news calls time on four years with RDF/Zodiak. Duffy joined RDF USA in 2007, serving as senior VP of development and current until RDF was acquired by Zodiak in October 2010, at which time he became exec VP and head of development at the new Zodiak USA.

While at Zodiak and RDF, he oversaw a slate that included a number of acclaimed reality and factual entertainment titles, including Wife Swap (for ABC), Don’t Forget the Lyrics (Fox) and Secret Millionaire (originally on Fox, now on ABC).

Prior to joining RDF USA, Duffy served as VP of development and current at LA-based Painless Productions.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.