William Saunders, former president of Twentieth Television Intl., has been appointed honorary chairman of SelecTV, a U.K.-based group of production and distribution companies, to advise on projects and sales opportunities in both the United States and Europe.
SelecTV is a shareholder in Meridian Broadcasting, a new ITV franchise holder for the Southeast of England. The two companies used Mipcom to announce several comedy and drama productions that will be produced by SelecTV units for broadcast by Meridian.
These include “Full Stretch,” a six-hour comedy series toplining Kevin McNally, about the trials of a limousine hire business; and “A Class Act,” a comedy special that takes swipes at the British class system, toplining Tracey Ullman.
Saunders told Daily Variety he’ll continue to travel between L.A., the United Kingdom and the Continent in his role as adviser to SelecTV. He’ll also play a key role in the Monte Carlo TV Festival selection committee and will continue to consult for Twentieth TV Intl.
Grundy selling indies
Grundy Intl. Distribution, the Amsterdam-based sales arm of Grundy Worldwide, is launching two new independent projects at Mipcom: “Stolen Lives,” a 13-parter about a young woman’s search for her real mother, and “Unseen Treasures of the World,” a four-part docu about rarely seen art works. Grundy also is selling “Shortland Street,” a daily soap set in a hospital and made for Television New Zealand.
CNN Intl. enters Russia
CNN Intl. has signed distribution agreements in Kiev, Ukraine, Sochi and Volgograd, Russia, and others in Estonia, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh and Bahrain, it was announced at Mipcom by Mark Rudolph, managing director of CNN Intl. sales.
The combined worldwide distribution of CNN and CNN Intl. has passed the 100 million household mark to reach 114 million in 141 countries, with nearly half of its programming now produced expressly for the international network.
TAE inks Asian pacts
Trans Atlantic Entertainment, a 3-year-old company that took over the New World Entertainment film catalog, has inked several film package deals in the Far East: One with TV Tokyo Network for a seven-title package, another with cable outlets in Taiwan for 105 titles, a 30-title pay-cable deal in Thailand with the IBC network, and a free TV deal in the Philippines for six titles.