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Roadshow subsid bows TV division

Village Roadshow Pictures, the U.S. subsid of Australia’s Village Roadshow entertainment conglom, has launched a TV division to turn out one-hour series for firstrun syndication, movies-of-the-week and miniseries.

To bump up the television output, VRP has given several executives new titles.

Also, the company named veteran American producer-writer Jeffrey Hayes as Los Angeles-based president and exec producer of VRP Television, responsible for worldwide tube production.

Hayes joined VRP 18 months ago as exec producer after jobs at Paramount Network Television, Aaron Spelling Prods, and Columbia Television.

Shows commitment

“This reorganization means Village Roadshow is committed to building up its international television operation,” says Hayes, who is currently executive producer of the Samuel Goldwyn/VRP adventure series “Flipper” and, with Mark and David Wolper, on the CBS miniseries “The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years.”

Both shows are being lensed at the Warner Roadshow studios on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

VRP president-chief exec Greg Coote, to whom Hayes reports, says quality one-hour series such as “Flipper” can be made in Australia for a price that would be impossible in the U.S.

Coote says Hayes is “the perfect blend of creative executive and can-do producer to fuel our global aspirations.”

Kim Vecera has been tapped as Sydney-based managing director of VRP Television (Australia), with the mandate to develop projects for the Oz networks. She segues from business affairs manager of the now-defunct production outfit Roadshow, Coote and Carroll. Vecera also is in charge of acquiring Aussie films for theatrical distribution locally.

To handle distribution of the increased volume, Nick McMahon has been tapped as exec VP TV sales, based at the Warner Roadshow studios. McMahon also will spearhead the unit’s push into co-prods, children’s programming and producing for pay TV. Concurrently he is co-exec producing “Pacific Drive,” a half-hour drama serial for Australia’s Nine network and, internationally, New World TV. Previously he was managing director of VRP (Australia).

Over the next few months Hayes says he’ll work with Coote to develop a slew of projects including Harold Robbins’ “Cat” and three telepics, scripted by Bob Hamilton, about a crusading Washington, D.C., attorney to be shot in Europe as a co-prod with CLT. “Huey and the Beach Gods,” a pilot for a one-hour series about a god who descends from Mount Olympus to team with a Jim Carrey-type character to rid the world’s evils, is being jointly developed with U.S. syndicator ACI. It was devised by Hayes along with Jim Kramer and Neil Nordlinger.

“The Fatal Shore,” a long-planned miniseries based on Robert Hughes’ historical book, for Ted Turner’s TNT, has Carl Schenkel attached to direct, and it’s now being cast.

In addition, Phillip Noyce is set to helm for Showtime “Saigon,” a four-hour drama set during the Vietnam war.

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