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Ben Silverman & Howard T. Owens’ Propagate Launches International Distribution Unit Headed By Cyrus Farrokh

Deadline logo Deadline 1/17/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens’s independent TV studio Propagate has launched an international distribution division to be led by veteran sales and acquisitions executive Cyrus Farrokh who will serve as president. He comes from another indie TV company, Electus, which was founded by Silverman who served as chairman for seven years until leaving 10 months ago to join Propagate. Farrokh also previously worked with Owens at Shine America.

Under Farrokh, the international division of Propagate will manage content acquisitions and distribution as well as format development and sales.

Propagate, which has the financial backing of A+E Networks, landed 12 series in production and sold 10 scripts last year. That includes the licensing of two international formats to US networks: Exhibit A, a drama in development at CBS executive produced by Daniel Dae Kim with Alexi Hawley attached as showrunner, which is based on a South Korean series, and the Turkish relationship game show format My Partner Knows Best, which has been ordered to series by Lifetime with Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen hosting and executive producing.

At NATPE, Propagate will launch the format and finished US version of My Partner Knows Best; the format for Lore, an unscripted series based on the Aaron Mahnke’s podcast of the same name which is being co-produced with Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment in the US for Amazon; Chris Webber’s Full Court Prank, (fka Fan Slam) which is currently in production for TruTV in the US; and the unscripted series, H1Z1: The Last Stand, starring NBA champion Rick Fox and video game industry veteran Jace Hall, which was acquired by CW Network for CW Seed in the US.

“We are so proud to begin replicating our market-leading production platform globally,” said Propagate chairman and Co-CEO Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, Co-CEO. “Cyrus has an incredible track record of fostering long-term partnerships and opening doors into new markets, particularly in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and we are excited to redefine the global content business together.”

Working under Farrokh on the international team will be Propagate executives Jay Weisleder, who will be focusing on Latin America and Spanish-speaking territories, and Jimmy McNider, who will focus on European territories. Linh Le continues to focus on global business development.

Farrokh most recently served as SVP, Head of Sales for Electus International where he was responsible for the company’s first production/format deals in China, including a local version of Fashion Star, going on season 4 on SMG Group’s Dragon TV, and a local series of Running Wild with Bear Grylls, premiering later this month on Dragon TV. Farrokh successfully brought the format Bet on Your Baby to China, where the local version aired for two seasons on state broadcaster CCTV1.

Prior to Electus, Farrokh worked on the international sales team at Shine International, where he launched the company’s Asia business, including its first deals in China for MasterChef with SMG. Previously, he held sales positions with Media Rights Capital.

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