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Endemol hits Brit market

Takes 50% stake in Broadcast Communications

LONDON — Dutch production company Endemol Entertainment has taken a 50% stake in Broadcast Communications, the London-based production arm of the U.K.’s Guardian Media Group.

The deal gives Endemol, one of Europe’s largest indie production players, its long-sought entry into the British market, via a linkup with the U.K.’s most prolific producer of leisure entertainment shows.

The mooted joint venture between Endemol and GMG, which is best known as the publisher of the Guardian newspaper, was first made public in February, with the deal finally being signed Monday.

GMG chief exec Bob Phillis remains chairman of Broadcast Communications, with Tom Barnicoat continuing as chief exec. Endemol president John de Mol will join the Broadcast Communications board.

Broadcast includes a number of production labels, notably Bazal and Initial, which span a wide range of mostly non-fiction programming.

Bazal, in particular, has pioneered the concept of leisure entertainment, with innovative and high-rating shows such as “Changing Rooms” (in which a pair of couples redecorate each others’ homes) and “Ready Steady Cook” (in which contestants race to whip up meals against the clock).

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