For the Record

HGTV nabs Martha; RTL loses Big Diet; and ESPN enters the original production game.
July 19, 2001

In France, TFI has pulled out the big guns, and plans to answer M6′s Loft Story with a seven-day-a-week reality series called Star Academy. Produced with Niouprod (part of Endemol), the series pits prospective stars-to-be against one another to see who can out-talent the next.

The Rory Peck Awards have put out a call for entries. For more info, visit:

Home & Garden has struck a broadcast deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which will run for two years beginning in 2002. The deal sees H&G playing host to about 70 hours of various Stewart series and specials over that period of time. Time will tell if it’s a good thing…

Justin Sebik, a contestant on Big Brother II, was kicked off the show for holding a knife to another participant’s throat and asking: ‘Would you get mad if I killed you?’ Executive producer Arnold Shapiro wasn’t thrilled at the prospect, and had Sebik off the set two hours after the incident took place. Although the exchange will not appear on the show, the episode following the incident pulled in 9.2 million viewers, a household increase of about 7% over the previous week.

In a recent study conducted by e-Poll, 22.3% of viewers said they’d had enough of reality television. Now for the other 77.7%…

ESPN is making the move to original production, dedicating US$25 million to the task. Look for original movies and reality series to head up the new programming thrust.

In Europe, Discovery Health has commissioned the Health Media Group to produce online medical content over the next five years, including news and features. The initial plan is to relaunch Discovery Health Online with expanded interactivity.

Endemol plans to acquire the remaining 40% ownership of Gestmusic, giving it full ownership of the Spanish company. Gestmusic is the production brains behind several formats, including Big Diet.

RTL in Germany plans to pull reality show Big Diet from the screen a month earlier than planned due to some less-than-pudgy ratings.

NBC has ordered another season of Fear Factor and Spy TV from Endemol.

The Discovery Campus is looking for participants for the Discovery Campus Masterschool 2002. Deadline for entries is December 21. More information can be found at:

BBC Worldwide Americas’ Latin American publishing division has inked a deal with Ediciones Folio to produce $200 million worth of publishing product over the next five years.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.