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Fremantle builds worldwide ‘Runway’

Co. will set up local versions of fashion skein

Bravo’s Emmy-nommed “Project Runway” is very much in fashion at FremantleMedia.

Company’s international distribution arm has picked up global rights to producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s hit reality skein. Fremantle Intl. Distribution will sell the original U.S. version of the show, hosted by Heidi Klum, and set up local versions of the “Runway” format.

Deal excludes the U.K., Canada and Italy.

Produced under the Weinsteins’ former Miramax Television banner, “Runway” picked up a nom in the competition-based reality skein category Thursday. It will compete with established skeins “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “American Idol” and “The Apprentice.” Latter two also are distributed overseas by Fremantle, which co-produces “Idol.”

Harvey Weinstein said he was “certain that Fremantle Intl. Distribution was the right choice to handle this show.”

“Fremantle’s expertise creates new revenue streams that (will) allow for more creativity and diversity in the shows we develop,” he added.

FID managing director David Ellender said his company’s status as both producer and distributor of formats gives it better access to global markets.

“Because of our reach, with producers in 37 markets, we’re the only ones who can offer sort of one-stop shopping,” he said. FID has already started plotting out a sales strategy for “Runway.”

If “Runway” follows the pattern of recent deals, FID likely will set up the U.S. version of the show on digital channels and sell the localized version to terrestrial broadcasters. Ellender said several international programmers had seen “Runway” and were looking to make deals.

As for the local versions, “We’re not going to stray from the ingredients that made it a success,” he said. That means each country will get its own Heidi Klum.

“We’ll look for the equivalent glamorous people,” he said.

Exec also noted the universal theme of the skein, saying, “High fashion is of interest to viewers around the world.”

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