U.K./U.S. cooperative arrangements have suddenly become a popular option for media companies. The latest is a one-year renewable co-venture between Newsweek Productions in Washington, D.C. and the U.K.’s Carlton Television.
Newsweek Productions VP Tim Smith says he initiated the deal. ‘I had worked with Steve Hewlett [Carlton's director of programs] when I was head of production at Unapix Entertainment, and I was obviously aware of the deal between Granada and the New York Times. I thought it would be good to have Newsweek hook up with Carlton.’
Smith says the deal will be a true 50/50 arrangement, from rights to financing to profits, with two people from each company sitting on the co-venture’s board. Newsweek and Carlton have set up a fund for new projects, with an establishing amount ‘in the six figures.’ He adds that the focus will be high-end specials or limited series.
The co-venture’s head office will be in Washington with a satellite office in New York. Notes Smith, ‘I think where we’ll differ from the Granada deal is in doing most if not all of the production in the U.S.’
Smith hopes to do 20 to 30 hours of programming in the first year. In terms of genres, they’ll likely play to the respective prodco strengths. Newsweek produces health series HealthWeek and Health Point, and has made such non-fiction specials as John Glenn: American Hero. Carlton’s credits include The Second World War in Color.