22 Nov 2017
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Zodiak to create intl formats through new production label ‘Bookhouse’

MUMBAI: Zodiak Media is expanding its UK operations with the creation of a brand new label to develop and produce unscripted programming and international formats.

New label Bookhouse is created in partnership with Ian Lamarra who leaves Alaska TV, the company he co-founded in 2011, to launch the new company.

Lamarra, who will run Bookhouse as creative director, will report to UK CEO Rod Henwood and work closely with the Zodiak UK stable of production companies.

Specialising in unscripted non-fiction formats and original returnable series for the UK and US, Lamarra will also work closely with Zodiak Rights, the distribution arm of the super indie, to create bespoke international formats. Bookhouse will also look to co-produce formats with existing Zodiak companies.

Lamarra will run Bookhouse out of the Zodiak UK London headquarters, but will additionally use Zodiak Americas’ New York and LA bases to build on his existing relationships with US broadcasters, commissioners and agents.

Lamarra will travel to Canada for Banff 2015 this month, along with Grant Ross, Zodiak Media’s executive VP of global creative development and format acquisition.

Prior to Zodiak, Lamarra co-founded Alaska, a fully independent production company producing content worldwide. In his role as creative director, he was responsible for developing and creating ideas, and winning business.

Under his creative direction, Alaska grew over four years winning significant commissions for Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV along the way, including international hit Blinging Up Baby, currently in its second series for Channel 5, and Domino’s (w/t), an obs-doc about the country wide fast-food chain, also for Channel 4.

While at Alaska, he also developed ITV’s ‘James Nesbitt in New Zealand’, Lifetime’s ‘The Proposers’ and ‘Show Me Your Wardrobe’ for Sky Living.

He was head of development for Tiger Aspect’s Factual and Factual Entertainment department, which saw ‘Argumental’, ‘Britain’s Best Brain’ and ‘Supermodel Salon’ commissioned among others. Before that, he was IWC Media head of global formats where he brought ‘Iron Chef’ to the UK for Channel 4, also developing the format for daytime. He also spent four years developing in-house at BBC.

Zodiak UK CEO Rod Henwood said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Ian in this way. Our goal in the UK is to grow organically by investing in development and continually refreshing our impressive talent pool – and to increase our output with US-based and US-owned networks. Ian’s achievements in helping build Alaska from a standing start three years ago, as well as his previous track record at Tiger Aspect and our own IWC, give us great confidence Bookhouse will grow rapidly as a source of new programming, both in the UK and the US.”

Lamarra said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to build a courageous new content company to fit the changing landscape of opportunities worldwide. There’s is a renewed appetite for unscripted TV formats from broadcasters in the UK and US, and an ever-growing list of exciting new content buyers from global platforms like Amazon and Netflix to mega brands like Red Bull and Samsung. Bookhouse will take an international view on the commissioning landscape, focusing on intelligent, layered unscripted ideas, and aiming to build a portfolio of IP which can roll out across all territories and construct clever global co-productions. It was not an easy decision to leave Alaska, but I am hugely thankful for the experience I gained in starting and aggressively scaling up a new TV company, and I’m glad I leave them in fine fettle, with some very exciting, yet to be announced commissions and changes.”