Anticipating expansion in international markets, Time Life Inc. will announce today a commitment to spend $30 million over the next four years on original non-fiction programming.

Candice Carpenter, president of Time-Life Video & Television, said the company plans to produce two or three documentary series a year, which will be based on Time-Life book titles. Each series will range from three to 10 hours in length.

Carpenter said, “With the full support of more than 200 full-time editorial staff, together with the resources of a network of researchers on all five continents, we are committed to producing the finest documentary programs available.”

The company has a development slate of 10 projects. Top of the list are “Lost Civilizations,””Mystic Places” and “True Crime,” all based on Time-Life books.

Carpenter and her team will travel to the Mipcom program market in Cannes next week, seeking international TV partners for these productions.

At the same time, the company will announce the appointment of a senior executive producer to oversee all its projects.

Time-Life entered the video distribution business four years ago, and 18 months ago it set up Time-Life Video & Television to get involved in co-production.

Since then, the division has invested about $ 2 million in co-productions with the BBC, Lorimar and the Discovery Channel for the international market, but none of these projects were originated by Time-Life.

“The kind of programming we’re creating is incredibly well-suited to the international market,” Carpenter commented.

“Our programs are designed for a very discriminating audience of video buyers , which means they have enough substance and levels of complexity to bear repeated viewing. This also means that our editorial goals are closer to the more sophisticated tastes of the international broadcast market than is sometimes true of U.S. broadcasters.”

She said the company’s goal was “to continue to work with the best documentary filmmakers, people who have a very strong commitment to a particular subject.”

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