Former MTV executives Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley form studio within Ben Silverman's company
There is life after MTV.
Two longtime executives of the youth-oriented network, Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, on Monday unveiled their new venture -- DiGa -- which they described as an independent production studio housed within Ben Silverman's company, Electus, a business unit of Barry Diller's IAC. The firm will be based in New York, but they said they will open a production and editing office in Los Angeles.
DiSanto and Gateley said they plan to develop scripted and unscripted prime-time TV shows to sell to networks and cable channels, including MTV. They already have several projects in development, including a potential comedy series starring the personality Amanda Diva; a fashion series from Jill Martin, author of "Fashion for Dummies," and a few projects from Jackhole Industries, a collaboration of Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla and Daniel Kellison.
"Liz and I are thrilled to partner and form DiGa, the next logical step in our career as we look to expand on the work we did together at MTV as producers and executives," DiSanto said in a statement. "We look forward to creating and developing content in a variety of mediums and for new outlets, while also continuing a great relationship with MTV Networks, our long-time home."
DiGa means "speak" in Spanish and is also a combination of DiSanto's and Gateley's last names. DiSanto started as a production assistant at MTV in 1989 and rose through the ranks, working on some of MTV's most successful programming, including "Total Request Live with Carson Daly," and "Jersey Shore." He became president of programming in June 2009 and left the network at the end of 2010. Gateley joined MTV in 2003 as a development executive and was deeply involved in the creation of "Laguna Hills," "America's Best Dance Crew," "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." She also departed the network at the end of last year.
It had been rumored that the pair would go into business with Silverman, the former William Morris agent, producer and NBC programming executive. Silverman's Electus will retain distribution rights to shows that DiGa produces.
-- Meg James