People/Biz

Exclusive: Anomaly Entertainment brings on Nikki Cruz as SVP, production

Matthew Kelly and Michael Sorensen‘s nascent prodco Anomaly Entertainment has bolstered its senior executive team with the hiring of former Optomen Productions exec Nikki Cruz. Cruz (pictured) will board the New York-based ...
September 26, 2018

Matthew Kelly and Michael Sorensen‘s nascent prodco Anomaly Entertainment has bolstered its senior executive team with the hiring of former Optomen Productions exec Nikki Cruz.

Cruz (pictured) will board the New York-based company as SVP of production and will be responsible for managing the young studio’s ever-expanding production slate.

“Nikki is our first and most important hire,” company co-founder Sorensen tells realscreen. “We have a couple more people that we are rolling out soon, but for right now, it’s about operations, infrastructure and making sure that we can serve the clients with the number of series that we have.

“We’re a small company but looking to grow and having seen where we need to get to, it’s going to be incredibly valuable for us to call on Nikki’s expertise to help guide us where we’re going,” he adds.

Cruz, says Anomaly co-founder Kelly, will be “instrumental in building our infrastructure and building our assets so we can handle a bigger workload.”

Cruz holds more than 12 years of television industry experience, having most recently served as line producer at Optomen Productions, where she oversaw Food Network’s Buddy vs. Duff and Facebook Watch pilot Hip Hop Oracle.

Prior to this, she worked at Half Yard Productions over a six-year period as head of production. During her tenure at the Sean Gallagher and Abby Greensfelder-run studio, Cruz oversaw all New York-based productions, including such series as TLC’s Say Yes to the DressI Found the Gown and Say Yes to the Dress UK.

Before Half Yard, Cruz spent time as a producer and in senior production management roles for a number of companies, including Left/Right Productions, BBC Worldwide and Granada America.

Founded in 2017, Anomaly is currently in production on three series as part of its exclusive output agreement it signed with Discovery at launch, where Kelly and Sorensen were formally based prior to the jump to producing.

The duo had been on the network side of things at Discovery and Science Channel for nearly a decade, serving as co-VPs of development and production, prior to launching the production studio last February.

While Kelly and Sorensen shared equally in accolades and recognition, the pair felt the need to become more involved in the creative process by launching programming across a raft of networks rather than just the one.

“Discovery Communications, at the time, was gracious enough to help us out with that by giving us this output deal that allowed us to do what we wanted to but also learn on the job with brands that we were very familiar with,” Sorensen explains.

This summer, the production house delivered two ‘Shark Week’ specials for Discovery Channel, including Shaq Does Shark Week and their first series for Investigation Discovery, Someone You Thought You Knew.

Anomaly, with Kelly and Sorensen at the helm, is pushing forward on projects that blend genres, combining comedy in a factual space, comedy and adventure, and comedy and natural history.

“These are genres that feel like they don’t necessarily belong together, but we’ve seen through the research at the networks that audiences always respond to [them] because they feel a little bit different,” says Sorensen. “We’re making a big push into those areas right now with a few networks, [and] we have some things going to greenlight.”

“We have some projects that we’re prepping in lifestyle,” Kelly adds. “Obviously with Discovery taking on Scripps, it opens us up to now be developing a lot more in food and travel and HGTV, so that is… the second wave that we look at terms of expansion.”

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a staff writer at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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