More executive changes at Endemol US

Endemol’s US division has hired Ben Samek as COO and upped Rob Smith to executive VP in the latest in a round of executive changes at the company.

Samek joins Endemol North America from 51 Minds where he was COO and oversaw the sale of the US prodco to Endemol. Before that he was at MTV and Bunim/Muray and his programming credits include Making the Band and The Amazing Race.

As Endemol North America COO Samek will oversee business development and run the digital multichannel platform Endemol Beyond.

51 Minds founder Mark Cronin left the company after selling it to Endemol and Christian Sarabia was promoted to president. The other 51 Minds co-founder, Cris Abrego, was tapped as one of two new execs at the top of Endemol North America.

Speaking about the new appointments, Abrego said: “Ben and I have been collaborating for over fourteen years. He will be a driving force in capturing revenue opportunities and forging creative partnerships on behalf of Endemol North America.”

Rob Smith, meanwhile, has been at Endemol for 11 years. In the expanded role of executive VP, creative affairs will oversee development and work across shows on air.

Charlie Corwin, the former boss of another US prodco acquired by Endemol, Original Media, and now co-CEO of Endemol North America, said: “Rob Smith is a smart executive with strong creative instincts and deft negotiation skills. He has been the key point person for producers and network executives since the beginning, for Endemol’s powerhouse brands like Steve Harvey, Wipeout, Deal or No Deal and Fear Factor.”


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