Lion’s Gate develops Hooters
For its initial foray into first-run daily broadcast syndication, the TV division of L.A.-based Lion’s Gate Entertainment will produce a half-hour dating game format called Hooters. A spokesperson for Lion’s Gate confirms that the program, scheduled for a fall 2001 debut, is linked to the U.S. restaurant chain of the same name. The studio set will look like the interior of a Hooters eating establishment, and the grand prize will be a date with a Hooters waitress. The program is a 50/50 co-venture with Fisher Entertainment.
Lion’s Gate recently laid off 45 employees, primarily in the theatrical distribution division, as a follow-up to the company’s merger with Trimark Pictures. Feature docs that Lion’s Gate has distributed in the past include The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Beyond the Mat. SR
Discovery workshops a-go-go
Twenty of 150 producers attending the Discovery Networks Europe/Discovery Germany workshop from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will be chosen to pitch proposals at the Berlin event (February 23 to 25). Discovery will award contracts worth DM20,000 (US$9,500) to the three strongest proposals (one-offs, series or format). In addition, Discovery will conduct info-sessions on the kind of programming they are interested in, and offer the opportunity to schedule informal one-on-one meetings with different commissioning editors. Representatives from 50 European broadcasters are expected to attend.
Berlin marks the third phase of Discovery’s territory-specific initiative – the first was held two years ago in Miami; the second in Medira – both were geared toward production companies in Latin America. Discovery plans to continue hosting this annual event, to get in touch with smaller and mid-sized local prodcos. Next year’s event will be held in Asia. JH
Oxygen launches online shop
In a bid to move forward with some brand-building, Oxygen Media – parent company of U.S. women’s cable channel Oxygen TV – recently launched Shop O2, an e-commerce website. Oxygen’s online shopping experience purports to be different from the competition by offering product reviews written by shoppers, expert articles and a product decision guide. Items available include baby gear, beauty products and electronics.
Oxygen is reportedly casting around for a media company ally to help boost distribution and raise additional investment funds. According to a report from Bloomberg News, Time Warner, NBC, Viacom and E.W. Scripps are among the companies with whom
Oxygen is talking. SR
Granada sells HTV, keeps United Wildlife
The landscape of TV broadcast ownership in the U.K. has shifted again, with the sale of HTV from Granada to Carlton. Granada was obliged to sell HTV as part of a regulatory requirement resulting from its recent merger with United News and Media, HTV’s former owner. The sale of HTV to Carlton went through for £181 million and 20% of Carlton’s stake in Meridian (Granada already held 80% of Meridian). Granada retains United Wildlife, the umbrella for HTV’s well-established wildlife prodcos, Survival and Partridge Films. With the acquisition of HTV, Carlton will broadcast to almost 50% of the U.K. population. SR