China Ent. TV gets reprieve

New investors take CETV off deathwatch

HONG KONG — China Entertainment Television founder Robert Chua told Daily Variety that he has found new investors to revive his struggling satellite broadcaster.

“We have prolonged the execution date,” said Chua, who added that he had been within 18 hours of pulling the plug. “We’re not dead yet.”

Chua was left in the lurch in January when his new mainland Chinese partners did not come up with the cash infusion they promised last October. On New Year’s Eve, he was forced to lay off about half of his 180 member staff.

Since then, CETV has been running a combination telethon and deathwatch for itself. Chua said viewers have been sending in donations, and a few of them have decided to become substantial investors.

In the three years since its launch, CETV has had several sets of partners, including Pat Robertson and the Family Channel.

Chua would not say who his new partners would be, identifying them only as “overseas Chinese,” though not Americans. He said he hoped to make an announcement by the end of the month.

Chua added that he and his wife would continue to own 20% of the broadcaster and he would stay on to run the operation.

“There may be little changes,” he conceded, though he said CETV would not abandon its “no sex, no violence” credo.

Chua said he is “very disappointed” in his erstwhile mainland partners, and may take legal action at a later date.

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