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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.