Inside move: Ovitz looks to tune in TV partner

ATG eyeing significant financial investment

Mike Ovitz is stepping up his efforts to find an overall deal for his Artists Television Group.

Within the past few weeks, Ovitz has held talks with several potential partners — including CBS, NBC Studios and Twentieth Century Fox TV — about various strategic alliances, according to industry insiders. All sorts of scenarios have been bandied about, from a partnership to a possible flat-out sale of the company.

The bottom line: Ovitz is looking for a significant financial investment, and soon. Whether he’ll get it in a difficult market is an open question.

Complicating matters is ATG’s current distribution deal with Sony. Pact could limit any backend potential for any partners or buyers. ATG’s sizable talent roster could also be a double-edged sword. While it boasts several valuable names, it also carries significant overhead.

Despite stellar success at landing series on the air during its first season in business, none of ATG’s 2000-2001 series snagged renewals. Studio has an Ellen DeGeneres laffer and an reality show on the fall sked, as well two backup series orders.

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