BBC Lionheart, the British pubcaster’s New York-based subsid, has signed an unusual deal with the Reader’s Digest Assn. to co-produce “coffee table” nature videos for the U.S. and international markets.

The BBC will own TV rights to their joint projects, while Reader’s Digest will sell the videos worldwide by direct mail.

Their first co-production, “America’s Wilderness Heritage,” is currently shooting for a fall 1994 video release. American natural history filmmakers Thatcher Drew and Steven Fairchild will oversee production of the three hour-long episodes, which will also be screened on the Discovery Channel.

The second series under the deal, “The Fascinating World of Animals,” will start shooting in January.

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