Granada International has signed a six-figure coproduction and distribution deal with Court TV. Under the arrangement, Granada gets world distribution rights (excluding North America, but including French Canada) for up to 10 hours of new doc programming from Court TV in the first year, first option on trial footage, and first look on all completed half-hour, hour or multi-part docs.
U.K.-based Channel 4 is in talks with independent prodco Wall to Wall Television about buying into the company. The deal would mark broadcaster C4’s foray into production and would require the approval of the Independent Television Commission.
HIT Wildlife, the natural history arm of the U.K.’s HIT Entertainment, has signed a three-year copro deal with Discovery International for 10 one-hour, blue-chip programs.
Munich-based Telcast has contracted with National Geographic Television to distribute over 2,000 hours of NGT footage in the German market.
Societe Francaise de Production – France’s 26-year-old, state-owned TV prodco – is now privately owned by Bollore Investissements and Euromedia Television. BI, which holds 70% of SFP, and Euromedia, which holds 30%, are both headed by Vincente Bollore, who closed the deal for US$4.1 million.
CNN has agreed not to enforce an exclusivity pact with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Channel on breaking news stories of U.S. national interest.
Australia’s Beyond Distribution has partnered with Kiwi prodco South Pacific Pictures to launch Beyond New Zealand, an Auckland-based independent television distrib. South Pacific’s MD John Barnett will head up the joint venture.
Germany’s Telemunchen and California-based Lion’s Gate International Television have signed a long-term output deal. Telemunchen will distribute Lions Gate’s TV programming throughout Europe’s German-speaking market.
Tonight’s premiere of CBS’ Survivor:Africa will be closely watched by U.S. programming executives, given predictions that reality programming may suffer domination by the realities depicted in the news. The New York Times quotes a network pundit who says that if the series rates low, competing networks will likely rethink their own plans for reality programming.
The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. broadcasters CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC will embrace ‘integrated advertising’ – in addition to cutting costs – to offset the recent drop in advertising revenue. Strategies include product placement (used last season on CBS’ Survivor series, for example) and sponsorship/ownership of shows (advertisers can influence such details as the clothing brands worn by actors). It’s estimated the networks will incur a six percent drop (US$1 billion) in advertising dollars for the year.
The number of syndicators expected to be on the floor at NATPE 2002 is getting leaner by the day. The latest to drop out are Columbia TriStar Television Domestic, Fox’s syndication arm Twentieth Television and Studios USA Domestic Television. Some syndicators are heading to suites at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, reportedly as a cost-saving tactic.
The BBC will invest about £25 million (US$36 million) in regional broadcasting and broadband digital learning initiatives for Hull, the East Riding and Lincolnshire over the next five years.
Court TV will draw on its original documentaries for inspiration in developing feature-length fiction films. The first Court TV dramatic project in production is Guilt by Association, which was inspired by the doc Prisoners of Love.
Dutch format developer Endemol is branching out into the Latin American market. The company recently announced a joint venture with Mexico’s Grupo Televisa – Endemol Mexico, a new prodco based in Mexico City.
In other Endemol news, the company has developed a new format that takes the Big Brother concept one step further. In The Master Plan, participants not only surrender their privacy, they also agree to take orders (via electronic text messages) from an unknown ‘master’, who can even decide to withold the cash reward at the end of the game.
U.S.-based HGTV is donating US$25,000 towards a new fire truck for the New York City fire department. HGTV is also going to match the $25,000 in prize money from its ‘Great Fall Fix-Up’ contest with $25,000 towards relief efforts for last month’s terrorist attacks in New York City.
The Extreme Sports Channel will be available in Greece on the newly launched Alpha Digitial Synthesis network platform.
American filmmakers Laurie Gwen Shapiro and David Shapiro will attend the screening of their film Keep the River On Your Right at Hot Docs‘ monthly Doc Soup series in Toronto on October 12. The second screening presentation will be Dutch director Heddy Honigmann‘s Crazy, winner of the audience award at the IDFA.
Award winners from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (September 24 to 29) include: Mzima: Haunt of the Riverhorse (Survival Anglia/National Geographic Telvision), which took the top prize Grand Teton Award and Best Animal Behavior; Living Edens: Yellowstone, America’s Secret Eden (ABC/Kane Productions), Best Cinematography; and The Great Dance (Off the Fence/Aardvark/Liquid Pictures/Earthrise), which took Best Editing, Best People and Animals, and Best Achievement in Sound.