[04/17/08 - 10:29 AM]
New NBC Universal Digital Studio Announces Strategic Partnerships, Senior Staff and First Projects
The first productions from the new unit are "Gemini Division," premiering this summer, and "Woke Up Dead."

[via press release from NBC]



"Gemini Division," "Woke Up Dead" First Original Digital Productions To Debut

New Unit Formed To Develop Branded, Quality Digital Content

BURBANK, Calif. � April 17, 2008 � NBC Universal today announced the formation of its new Digital Studio which has been created to develop and produce brand-centric, quality digital content experiences, distribute them across NBCU's portfolio of digital properties and find and develop quality digital programming into which client brands can be organically integrated. Omnicom Media Group Digital (OMG Digital) has signed on as the first strategic partner. The first productions from the new unit are "Gemini Division," premiering this summer, and "Woke Up Dead." Additionally, new team members Suhaila Suhimi and Nichol DeGruccio have joined the ranks, led by Cameron Death, Vice President, NBC Universal Digital Studio. The announcements were made by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios and Vivi Zigler, Executive Vice President, NBC Digital Entertainment and New Media, to whom Death reports.

"Under Cameron, this new Digital Studio is going to give us incredible opportunities to develop dynamic, ground-breaking projects using innovative business models," said Silverman. "We are proactively working with our clients, the advertisers, to deliver compelling content to our audiences, wherever they are."

"By using the intrinsic creative assets of NBC Universal to produce and develop custom digital entertainment, we're ensuring a rich experience for our consumers and client brands alike," said Zigler. "We're expanding both the type of content we offer and our distribution methods, and are well positioned to reach entirely new consumers with our content, brands and experiences."

In addition to original episodic programming across all genres, the NBC Universal Digital Studio will create deep interactive experiences that will drive high levels of engagement with audiences and the presenting brands. The Studio will offer advertisers full service solutions with access to top writers, producers and talent, high quality production expertise, consumer insights, measurements and analytics and scale to reach their target audiences.

NBC Universal Digital Studio's flagship strategic partnership with OMG Digital, in cooperation with sister Omnicom companies Davie Brown Entertainment and OMG Entertainment and Sports, is a first-of-its-kind relationship to give brands a seat at the table during the development phase of original digital entertainment. NBC Universal Digital Studio's partnership with OMG Digital creates a new paradigm for branded entertainment in the industry by ensuring content is created around an advertiser's marketing plan.

Matt Spiegel, CEO, OMG Digital, said, "This is the first time that programming with the distribution potential of NBC Universal will be centered from the start around advertisers. When we were presented the opportunity of a strategic alliance with NBC Universal Digital Studio, it was immediately apparent to all that combining the strength of NBC Universal's storytelling and the breadth of their distribution network with our insights and understanding of brands offered a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs."

The first of the new unit's productions, "Gemini Division," stars Rosario Dawson and Justin Hartley. Set five minutes in the future, the live action and animated science-fiction series follows a New York City homicide detective, Anna Diaz, as she investigates the murder of her fianc� and uncovers an underworld of genetically fabricated life-forms that bring into question the legitimacy of her own relationships and being. Intel, Microsoft, UPS and Acura TSX are the first brands to be involved with the development of the series. "Gemini Division" is produced in association with Electric Farm Entertainment, the team behind the groundbreaking online series "Afterworld."

The second production from NBC Universal Digital Studio, "Woke Up Dead," is currently in pre-production. The series explores the unexpectedly macabre transformation of run-of-the-mill college student Drex Greene, examining both the physical and emotional struggles of his anything-but-ordinary circumstances. Yesterday his biggest worries were finals and his budding romance with long time pal, Cassie. Today he faces inexplicable zombie-like tendencies, like being submerged under water without having to come up for air. Drex's entire life is quickly thrown into a tailspin, as scientists, military officials, religious zealots, the United States government, even Cassie, race for answers�at any cost and by any means necessary. This series is also produced in association with Electric Farm Entertainment.

The NBC Universal Digital Studio senior staff consists of Suhaila Suhimi who joins as Director of Brand Strategy and Nichol DeGruccio, Executive Producer, Digital Production. Suhimi was previously East Coast Digital Director of OMD where she managed the New York office and provided leadership on digital media strategies for brands such as Frito-lay, ABSOLUT, FedEx, Hertz and Hershey's. DeGruccio has been in digital positions within NBC Universal for the past seven years and most recently served as Executive Producer for original, online video series, which aired on various internal and external platforms, including iVillage.com, BravoTV.com, USANetwork.com, MSN.com and ONNetworks.com, among others.

About Omnicom Media Group

Omnicom Media Group is the media division of Omnicom Group, Inc. (NYSE: OMC). In addition to its OMG Digital and OMG Entertainment and Sports units, it includes client media service companies, OMD Worldwide, PHD and Prometheus, as well other media related businesses. Omnicom Group Inc. (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, media, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

About Davie Brown Entertainment

Operating within Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) and a member of The Marketing Arm, Davie Brown Entertainment (www.DavieBrown.com), founded in 1985, is the leading entertainment consulting and activation agency. For over 23 years, Davie Brown has developed the entertainment strategy and activation programs for leading brands in the emotional platforms of film, television, music and gaming. Services include: branded content development and production, brand integration, property licensing and sponsorship, celebrity and music licensing, entertainment promotions and public relations, as well as product placement and event production. Based in Los Angeles, Davie Brown has 60 employees with additional offices in New York, Chicago and Dallas.

About Electric Farm Entertainment

Electric Farm Entertainment is a digital studio for the development of intellectual properties across multiple platforms. The company principals are Stan Rogow, Brent Friedman and Jeff Sagansky, who together created the revolutionary online series "Afterworld." Their latest online venture "Gemini Division" will star Rosario Dawson in a live action/motion-capture animation sci-fi series. Rogow has produced some of the most successful series targeted at the youth audience, including The Disney Channel's "Lizzie McGuire," Discovery/Kids' "Darcy's Wild Life" and "Flight 29 Down." The long list of credits also include NBC's "Shannon's Deal," the critically acclaimed show that was nominated by the Television Critics Association for the "best show of the year," the CBS series' "Middle Ages" and "South of Sunset" and the UPN series "Nowhere Man." Friedman wrote the feature "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" based on the best-selling video game and his current projects include "Godzilla 3-D!," an original 3-D Imax project on which he is serving as creative consultant and "Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars," a sci-fi/action videogame written by Friedman and just released for Electronic Arts. He also recently served as co-executive producer on 44 episodes of the UPN drama series "The Twilight Zone" and created, wrote and/or co-wrote 12 episodes and served as supervising producer of the sci-fi series "Dark Skies" for Columbia Television, which aired for a full season on NBC. Jeffrey Sagansky was recently named Co-Chairman of the Board of Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc. Jeffrey, who has been CEO, CBS Entertainment; Co-President, Sony Pictures Entertainment; President, TriStar Pictures; SVP/Programming, NBC; and CEO, Paxson Communications, will serve on Peace Arch's Board along with the company's former Chairman and now Co-Chairman, Drew Craig.

  [april 2008]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

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