Beta gets its Mojto back

Annual brunch honored the former Kirch topper

The music was hip and romantic, the lights dimmed, and bright bowls of petals adorned the tables at the annual Beta Brunch at the Hotel Majestic on Tuesday in Cannes.

This feel-good vibe reflects a man with a lot to feel good about: Beta topper Jan Mojto.

The former Kirch Media honcho returned to Mipcom as the owner of one of Europe’s largest programming libraries, following his surprise acquisition of Kirch’s Beta in March.

Mojto, as per tradition, hosted the meet-and-greet with his wry sense of humor and clipped Czech accent, leaving some guests wondering if former owner and permanent no-show Leo Kirch had ever been part of it at all.

“I was lucky enough to work for an owner who allowed me to run the company,” Mojto told Daily Variety. “Nothing has changed now, except the content.”

“It’s like the good old days,” added sales and acquisitions head, and former Kirch employee, Dirk Schurhoff, who has been firmly ensconced at Beta’s busy corner slot in the Palais. “The concept is still the same. It’s the same idea, same people. It’s better to buy an existing sales company than build one from scratch.”

Mojto left the now-defunct Kirch Group in late 2001, launching his own production and distribution outfit EOS Entertainment in 2002 before snapping up Beta.

He has focused on TV event programming, including “D’Artagnian and the Three Musketeers” and Mafia drama “In the Claws of the Dragon.”

Showreel presented Tuesday incorporated the best of the old Beta and the new, with highlights including the HBO co-production “Rome” and the miniseries “Dresden — the Inferno” about the Allies’ destruction of the city during World War II. Docus on Jerry Lewis and a Brazilian soccer team, and items from Unitel, Beta’s classical music division, were also included.

“The idea at EOS has always been to combine production and distribution,” Mojto said. “Beta is a great addition.”

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