Companies ink pact to produce series

MIAMI — Consolidating its position as the studio most actively engaged in Latino TV, Columbia TriStar has pacted with Brazilian broadcaster Bandeirantes for four locally produced series in Portuguese.

“We’re starting with two sitcoms, which we’ll begin shooting in two weeks, and then there’ll be another two,” Col TriStar Intl. TV’s managing director, Dorien Sutherland, told Daily Variety.

First up are localized revamps — an order of 52 episodes each — of U.S. faves “Married … With Children” and “Who’s the Boss?” both of them produced by CTIT for a March airdate.

“Who’s the Boss?” has already been reworked in Spanish by CTIT with Mexico’s TV Azteca, and it screens in the U.S. on Sony-owned broadcaster Telemundo.

‘Game’ scores well

Elsewhere in Latin America, Chile’s TVN and Argentina’s Telefe have lately scored well with versions of CTIT’s “The Newlywed Game,” known in both markets as “Tal para cual.”

Sutherland said Brazilian deals have taken longer to put together partly due to numerous changes among TV execs, but with Brazil’s currency now sharply devalued he expects CTIT will benefit from a growing cost-consciousness.

“We’re working on a lot of gameshows now. They tend to be very cost-effective as local productions,” Sutherland added.

Sao Paulo-based Bandeirantes used to rank third among Brazil’s six broadcasters, but in recent years it was overtaken by Protestant church-backed TV Record.

CTIT’s remaining two Brazilian shows have yet to be chosen.

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