News briefs

Ex DNI exec loses battle with cancer, Showtime launches new doc slot and news from the world of stock footage
November 1, 2003

Ex DNI exec loses battle with cancer

Don Wear, the president of Discovery Networks International from 1997 to 1999 and president of policy at Discovery Communications from 1999 to 2001, died November 1 after battling cancer. He was 56. Wear, who lived in Arlington, U.S., with his wife, Janet, and son, Chris, left Discovery in 2001 to run Wear Multimedia International, a consultancy firm. ‘He was one of the good guys,’ says independent broadcasting consultant Chris Haws, a former senior VP at Discovery International and Wear’s friend.

‘Wear made significant contributions to the growth of Discovery’s international businesses,’ says Bryan Hughes, a spokesman for DCI. A milestone of that period included a major programming and copro deal with German terrestrial broadcaster ZDF Enterprises in 1998. MS

Showtime launches new doc slot

Showtime, the Los Angeles-based entertainment channel that regularly features Hollywood films, is putting docs in the spotlight. A new monthly slot branded ‘Sho Exposure’ will run original non-fiction programs, theatrically released documentaries and acquisitions. ‘Reality television is quite popular now, and even theatrically we’re seeing documentaries doing business,’ explains Matthew Duda, executive VP of program acquisition and planning. ‘We think we’re tapping into something.’

Director Vikram Jayanti’s James Ellroy’s Feast of Death aired in November, and Rob Fruchtman’s Trust Me is scheduled for December. Among the titles planned for 2004 are Dana Brown’s surf culture doc Step into Liquid and a two-part doc by Josh Aronson, called The Opposite of Sex, which follows a sex-change patient. The latter is an original Showtime production. ‘We’re looking for the unusual, the controversial, something you may not see on PBS,’ says Duda. ‘We’re trying to cast the net far and wide to see what we get.’ KB

From the world of stock footage…

The London-based Associated Press Television News Library has scored two coups from opposite ends of the globe. First, APTN is now the exclusive worldwide agent of the September 11 footage showing the first plane to hit the World Trade Center in New York. The image was captured by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. APTN has also sealed a deal with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. to represent ‘specially prepared content’ from the Aussie pubcaster’s archive non-exclusively in Europe and the U.K. In exchange, ABC will rep some of APTN’s footage non-exclusively in Australasia and Southeast Asia.

Canadian doc-makers now have easier access to the archive library of NHNZ. Canamedia in Toronto has agreed to be the Dunedin, New Zealand-based prodco’s exclusive footage rep in Canada. NHNZ has more than 4,000 hours of material in genres ranging from natural history to adventure sports.

Finally, the Washington, D.C.-based Library for National Geographic Television & Film will now have its interests represented by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in the Asia-Pacific region. Nat Geo’s ABU rep will be based in Kuala Lumpur. SZ

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