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Talpa hires Critical’s Danska

Formats-logo-460_2Jennifer DanksaTalpa Media USA has poached Jennifer Danska from Ellen Rakieten Entertainment, which sits within Tom Forman’s Critical Content.

Danska (pictured) will be senior VP, programming and development at Talpa Media’s North American arm, which has also promoted VP Monica Stock to SVP of production and director ReBecca Crawford to VP, current programming and development.

Talpa is best known in the US for NBC unscripted series The Voice, which has won two Emmys and run to multiple seasons. A spin-off, La Voz Kids, is in its fourth season on Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo.

“We had been looking for an experienced development executive to join our group at Talpa Media USA for some time now,” said Talpa USA CEO Jay Bienstock. “Jenn is one of the brightest and most creative executives out there. She has a very distinct understanding of the marketplace as she has spent time as both buyer and seller, with strong instincts and long seeded talent relationships.”

Danska executive produced series including HGTV’s The Monica Potter Project and co-exec produced All About Sex for TLC while at Ellen Rakieten, which launched within Critical predecessor Relativity Television in 2010. Before that, she held an SVP post at Kinetic Content and as VP, talent development and casting for E! Entertainment Networks, and worked at Telepictures Productions.

“Working with Talpa and the inspiring John de Mol and Jay Bienstock was too exciting to pass up. To be part of this incredibly creative and successful company that garners so much admiration and respect worldwide, and to have the opportunity to help develop new series and platforms, is a challenge I am looking forward to,” said Danska.

Critical, meanwhile, has signed an overall deal with Howie Mandel and his Alevy Productions prodco. This means the pair will develop and produce original series.

Critical has also scored overall deals with duo Matt Duff and Jeff Parker, former Zodiak USA exec Tony Yates, Rachel Schwartz, Troy Searer and scripted producer Jon Schwartz.

Each producer will get capital investment and access to Critical’s infrastructure.

Unscripted production veterans Duff and Parker created Luau Studios in 2010 and has produced shows for the likes of MTV and VH1, while Yates, the former CEO of Zodiak Los Angeles, created Gatekeeper Productions.

Rachel Schwartz works within Critical, having previously had spells at Bunim/Murray and 20th Century Fox Television, while Searer has worked at 3Ball Productions and formed two prodcos, Tijuana Entertainment and Giant Pirates Entertainment.

Jon Schwartz runs Persona Non Grata Productions, as previously consulted for Relativity Media, which previously housed Critical when it was Relativity Television.

Critical now has 13 overall deals after launching in October 2015.