Optomen Productions has announced the launch of a Los Angeles based entertainment division, Optomen Entertainment, and the appointment of veteran format creator and former Armoza Formats executive Elwin De Groot to serve as Senior Vice President of Entertainment. De Groot will report directly to President Maria Silver, working alongside Ricky Kelehar, Senior Vice President of Development.

The expansion exemplifies Optomen’s commitment to prioritize entertainment formats and game shows for domestic production and global distribution.  Both Kelehar and De Groot will relocate to Los Angeles to focus on the new label, with Kelehar continuing to work closely with the Optomen development team based in New York.

In his new role, De Groot will be charged with creating and developing original formats for broadcast networks and OTT channels.   Previously, he served as Senior Creative Director at Armoza Formats where he developed and produced original and third party content, creating and co-creating over 13 international formats airing in over 30 countries and counting.  Most recently, he co-created the singing competition The Final Four, which sold into 15 territories and aired as The Four on Fox in the US starring media mogul Diddy, producer DJ Khaled, Grammy-winning artists Meghan Trainor and Fergie. A second season of The Four is already slated to air this summer.  Additionally, he co-developed and was an Executive Producer on I Can Do That (NBC), a primetime entertainment format that was reproduced in over 13 countries as well as the Rose d’Or nominated game show Babushka (ITV).   Other credits include The People’s ChoiceThe FoodiesSex Tape, The Virgins, and Guys in Disguise.  At Armoza, De Groot also served as a senior flying-producer for many of the company’s in-house formats, traveling worldwide to help launch formats with channels such as Fox, NBC, ITV, Globo, ZDF, Zee TV, Rai and ABS-CBN.

With over 12 years television experience, he has worked alongside Deal or No Deal creator Dick de Rijk at Endemol International as well as being a part of John de Mol’s creative team at Talpa Media where he worked on formats like Beat de MolThe Pain Game and created the fashion competition format Beat the Top Designer.

“Elwin is a proven talent with a strong track record of creating successful formats for a global audience,” said Silver.  “Well respected by his peers and network executives, he’s perfectly positioned to help create a new entertainment division as we target the major broadcasters and prioritize primetime entertainment formats.”

“As a producer and an enthusiast, I’ve always been a huge fan of the US television market, the thrilling content it produces and the high bar it sets internationally. I am very excited to be working with the great team at Optomen and proud to be part of its expansion” said De Groot.

The news comes hot on the heels of an already busy year for Optomen.   Most recently, the company announced a co-production deal with Donna Macletchie and her Jane Street Entertainment (Next Food Network StarRachael v. Guy Celebrity Cook-off), finished filming the 100th episode of the cult hit Worst Cooks in America (Food Network ) and will premiere the 20th season of Mysteries at the Museum (Travel) next month.  In the last year alone, Optomen has produced more than 15 series and over 160 hours of programming.  Other credits include Monsters Inside Me for Animal Planet, When Sharks Attack for Nat Geo Wild and an upcoming home renovation show for HGTV, set in Hawaii.