LONDON — A U.K. producer has inked what is believed to be the first deal of its kind to make programs for the Chinese market. Factual specialist Lion Television has joined forces with Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television to produce biographies of Chinese emperors.

Agreement also involves producing fare about China aimed at the international market.

“This collaboration represents a massive and exciting opportunity,” says Lion TV joint managing director Richard Bradley. “There is a widespread desire to know more about Chinese history and culture.”

Phoenix Satellite Television, which is listed on the Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market, broadcasts five channels. In mainland China, Phoenix reaches more than 42 million homes and 140 million viewers.

Lion, whose “History Detectives” has been recommissioned by PBS, is planning to open an office in China in the new year, making it the first U.K. indie to expand outside the West. The London-based outfit, which opened an office in Los Angeles earlier this year, specializes in docusoaps, reality and history docus.

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