Danny Zappin’s Zealot Networks Buys JB Smoove’s Talent Firm

/ Feb 5, 2015

Zealot Networks

Zealot Networks, the digital media startup founded by former Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin, has acquired Converge Media Group, a New York-based talent management firm co-founded by comedian JB Smoove.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Zealot said its a full acquisition, with CMG partners now shareholders in Zappin’s company.

Per the deal, CMG will continue to operate under its current name, but under Zealot’s Music + Entertainment division. It will be led by partners, Rick Dorfman, Conan Smith, Lou Calderone, and Adam Benowitz.

CMG’s business spans talent management, branded content, and TV production — all with a focus on comedy. Its clients include Smoove, who’s a founding partner, and producers Madeleine Smithberg (co-creator of “The Daily Show”) and Ryan Ling (creator of “Guy Code” and “Girl Code”). Previous work includes “Four Courses with JB Smoove” for MSG Network and an award-winning “White Out” ad campaign for Mountain Dew.

With CMG now under its umbrella, Zealot now has “a studio with content making capabilities on the East Coast — a key component in building our business model,” said Zappin, who serves as Zealot’s president, in a statement.

Zealot’s model, meanwhile, is hazy at first glance. The company describes itself as a “digital-first media company and growth accelerator that empowers creative entrepreneurs by delivering multi-platform revenue, distribution, and development opportunities.” The general idea, it seems, is to own entertainment and technology businesses across different areas of expertise, and then have them work with each other to grow even higher and faster.

“They’re putting together a collection of companies that can work synergistically with one another creating opportunities for growth by utilizing each other’s expertise in their specific field,” said Dorfman. “Through this new business model, Zealot becomes an undeniable one-stop source for any company in need of talent, strategic planning, content creation, production and distribution.”

The acquisition comes a month after Zealot bought sports and entertainment management and marketing agency PSE, which also resides under Zealot’s Music + Entertainment arm. The two companies give Zealot an “impressive” talent representation and production services business across comedy, sports, and music, the company said.

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