Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, founders and former principals of Project Runway and Top Chef prodco Magical Elves, are returning to their entrepreneurial roots with a new venture that evokes, for them, memories of where it all began.
The duo has named their new media and content company Alfred Street Industries, after the street in West Hollywood where Cutforth (pictured, right) and Lipsitz (left) first set up shop, in the back part of a Spanish-style house, and in the rec room above its detached garage.
Joining the team is Dan Volpe, who is currently serving as executive producer on Below Deck: Sailing Vessel, produced by 51 Minds for Bravo, and who has co-executive produced the other series in the Below Deck franchise. Volpe has also worked with Cutforth and Lipsitz on series such as Top Chef and Project Greenlight.
Erin Rott, who has also worked with Cutforth and Lipsitz as part of the Magical Elves team, is joining the company as chief of staff.
Alfred Street Industries, repped by WME, is currently at work on Nat Geo’s reboot of Brain Games, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, with other projects across various networks and platforms going into production over the year ahead. Cutforth and Lipsitz, meanwhile, continue to serve as exec producers of the long-running Project Runway, which is back on Bravo following a stint on Lifetime with different producers.
“Our early days working on Alfred Street were a time of excitement and possibility as unscripted content changed the face of entertainment,” said Cutforth, in a statement. “This moment feels very much the same for us – it’s an unprecedented time of evolution and we feel like everything we’ve done to this point has prepared us to thrive in this new chapter for our industry.”
“We feel incredibly lucky to be able to re-enter the marketplace now as both producers and directors, and to really have the time and opportunity to tell the kinds of stories we want to tell,” added Lipsitz. “We have been overwhelmed by the incredible support we’ve already received from our colleagues and friends and look forward to welcoming everyone to Alfred Street where we feel like anything can happen.”
The two business partners founded Magical Elves in 2001, and besides the Top Chef and Project Runway franchises, produced a range of hits including Netflix’s Nailed It!, WE tv’s Braxton Family Values, Oxygen’s Cold Justice, and feature docs such as Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and their directorial debut, Katy Perry: Part of Me.
The prodco was acquired by Tinopolis Group in 2014. This past February, Cutforth and Lipsitz announced they were leaving the company to form a new venture. Magical Elves remains part of Tinopolis USA.