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Going ape for ‘Kong’

'Virgin,' 'Gladiator' among NBC U pix going to Televisa

“King Kong” is headed to Mexico via a renewed output deal between NBC Universal and Televisa.

Agreement was inked on the eve of Mipcom and unveiled Monday morning in Cannes. No financial terms were available, but given the volume of product included per year, accord is likely worth $5 million-$10 million annually. Most such deals nowadays run two or three years.

Product licensed by the Mexican TV powerhouse includes not only the upcoming Peter Jackson movie but “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Gladiator” and “The Mummy.”

Among TV titles are the current drama series “House” and the newcomer mystery hour “Surface” as well as the Dick Wolf “Law & Order” franchise.

Deal was unveiled by NBC U Intl. TV prexy Belinda Menendez and Televisa VP programming Alberto Ciurana.

In another similar renewal, NBC U has extended terrestrial TV rights in New Zealand for three years to TV3 for the studio’s current and library programming and its feature films. That deal also includes the upcoming “King Kong” as well as current series like “House.” The agreement was announced Monday in Cannes by NBC U’s Intl. TV Distribution prexy Belinda Menendez and TV 3 director of programming Beverley McGarvey.

Meanwhile, Jan Mojto’s Beta Film has sold the ZDF miniseries “Dresden — the Inferno” to France’s Canal Plus and Italy’s RAI, company said Monday at Mipcom.

Produced by Germany’s TeamWorx and Mojto’s production company EOS, the $12 million “Dresden” recounts the devastating Allied bombing of the German city in 1945, just weeks before the end of the war, through the eyes of a German nurse and the British bomber pilot she loves.

Directed by Roland Suso Richter (“The I Inside”), “Dresden” is in post and will air in Germany next year.

Beta sales exec Dirk Schuerhoff said the early sales were made on the basis of the pic’s “quality and huge emotional value,” adding that Beta expected to close further sales for the pic during Mipcom.

France’s Lagardere Group  launched Europe 2 TV, a digital terrestrial TV version of its music radio channel.

Web aimed at people 15-34 will devote 75% of its schedule to musicvideos, concerts and music shows. Non-music programming includes Mel Gibson’s series  “Complete Savages.”

Many new players are in town in hoping to ride the broadband wave.

Among these is Rainbow Media’s Voom HD Networks, which took the wraps off a $20 million high-def programming partnership with Southeast Asia producer Mega Media and the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

Idea is to create mostly nonfiction niche programming in the new format, to be jointly owned by the partners and distributed outside the U.S. by the 15-year-old Singapore-based distrib Mega Media. Partners aim for 100 hours over three years; results will help supply Voom’s channels back in the U.S. as well as the international market.

First project is “Beyond the Edge,” a one-hour doc about powerboat racing shot with seven digital cameras.

Al Jazeera Intl., the upcoming English-language offshoot of the Arab newsie, has hired producer-journalist Hassan Ibrahim, who has in a 30-year career covered a number of conflicts in the Middle East and in Latin America.  Hassan also recently featured as Al Jazeera’s senior producer in the feature doc “Control Room,” where he debated the merits of the Iraq war with Josh Rushing, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman. “Control Room” will be screened for potential buyers here in Cannes on Wednesday.

(Alison James in Cannes and Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.)

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