India’s Essel launches US prodco as it looks for Zee stake sale

India’s Essel Group has formed a new Los Angeles-based production company Z Productions, making it Essel’s first mainstream production company to be based in the US.

Overseen by Rajeev Kheror, who serves as president of Z Productions, as well as president of Essel-owned Zee Entertainment Enterprises, the new prodco will be helmed by veteran entertainment executive and producer Tim Krubsack, who has been named executive vice president and head of programming.

Kheror and Krubsack hold the same titles at Zee’s US health-entertainment cable net Z Living, currently in the process of transitioning from linear operations to a fully digital model.

As a stand-alone full-service production entity, Z Productions is a completely separate venture from the company’s digital offering however Kheror and Krubsack will continue to work together to run and grow both distinct products and brands.

Z Productions will tap into Essel Group’s media assets and IP as it develops and produces a broad range of content for all platforms, including linear television and streaming. The prodco is already in production on two original series in the transformation and health space and has numerous projects in development across genres.

The move arrives days after it was revealed that Essel is looking to sell part of its stake in Zee Entertainment to a global strategic advisor. Sony, Comcast, Tencent and Amazon are all said to be exploring a deal with the company.

Kheror said: “With the industry changing at such a rapid pace, we are focused on exciting ways to diversify our reach, and also to position the pioneering spirit of the Essel Group. With Z Productions, we are hitting the ground running to mobilise the marketplace with dynamic projects across a wide spectrum of formats and genres.”

Krubsack added: “It’s been a rewarding challenge to grow a niche network and develop such distinctive lifestyle programming. As a long-time programmer, launching Z Productions offers the perfect opportunity to stretch our collective creative muscles with innovative content for television and digital platforms. We look forward to tapping into the great and varied resources of Essel to deliver fresh and diverse content to a variety of buyers.”

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