Lionsgate Television has been busy selling celebrity competition shows starring celebrities from Paris Hilton to Antonio Sabato Jr., while also representing the documentary world with high school musicals, Muhammad Ali and more. Craig Cegielski, executive VP of programming and sales for Lionsgate International Television and Kevin Beggs, president, programming and production, spoke with realscreen about their slate and why they’re always looking for docs.
Lionsgate brought Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend to MIPCOM, and Cegielski is excited about the upcoming spin-off Paris Hilton’s Dubai BFF, which follows the same format as the U.S. and UK versions. Bringing Paris Hilton to Dubai was a natural fit for Hilton, who Cegielski calls ‘incredibly adaptable and electric.’
‘Her celebrity is too big in the U.S.,’ he adds, ‘but in Dubai those girls share Paris’ lifestyle.’
Lionsgate International Television also has ABC’s Shaq Vs., in which NBA star Shaquille O’Neill challenges his buddies to compete against him in their professional sport, as well as VH1′s My Antonio, in which Antonio Sabato Jr. looks for a new partner.
As for a run down of the doc slate that Lionsgate has to offer, Beggs mentions Showtime’s Guys and Divas: The Battle of the High School Musical, a doc that focuses on three southern Indiana high schools going head to head in competition. Set to air on Spike in February but also boasting a theatrical release, Facing Ali is based on the book of the same name that features 15 of the most important people to fight Muhammad Ali. Beggs stresses that it’s about the people who have been impacted by Ali and those that have also had an impact on the boxing legend.
Lionsgate Television has also produced a third doc with Animal Planet, Street Dogs of South Central, narrated by Queen Latifah. Beggs describes it as ‘Crash meets March of the Penguins,’ where the doc follows a mother and her pups going through life in South Central Los Angeles. ‘It’s a nature film set in a disturbing environment,’ he adds.
In terms of theatrical docs, Lionsgate is handling the domestic distribution of The Cove and has worldwide rights to More Than a Game, and will also take on The September Issue‘s domestic distribution.
‘We’re always on the look out [for docs],’ says Beggs. ‘It’s not our core, but we do four or five a year.’