Fremantle channels mobiles

Atomic aimed exclusively at cell phone users

FremantleMedia has engineered a wireless deal that will make it the first production company to create a channel aimed exclusively at cell phone users.

Mobile channel Atomic Wedgie will consist of shortform programming, some of it original and some drawn from Fremantle’s library of 9,000 hours of TV shows.

Fremantle’s partner is wireless technology company Mobliss. Sprint will be the first carrier of the service, which kicks off this week.

Fremantle’s most visible series, “American Idol,” won’t be available to Atomic Wedgie because of a previously negotiated exclusive deal with Cingular, said Keith Hindle, Fremantle exec VP for North America.

But the channel will offer such series as “Baywatch Babes,” featuring the show’s “sultry ladies” in “hot footage”; “British Invasion,” highlighting new clips from U.K. shows like “Smack the Pony”; “Famous Farts in History,” which interrupts politicians’ speeches with vulgar sound effects; “TV Bloopers,” with outtakes from programs in the Fremantle vault; and “Bush Bites,” a showcase for freshly produced animated shorts that illustrate the president’s slips of the tongue.

“I’m convinced that a producer like Fremantle is a better supplier of mobile product than a broadcast or cable network,” Hindle said. “The networks are not in a position to put much of their content into a mobile feed because they don’t own all of the shows on their schedule.”

By contrast, Hindle said, Fremantle buys all rights to its shows, from mobile to merchandising to live events. “And we have an ongoing production machine that has to keep coming up with new concepts for shows,” he added.

Hindle said the “holy grail” would be for Atomic Wedgie to become a testing ground for new concepts that result in pilots bankrolled by a broadcast or cable network for use, eventually, as a weekly series.

Fremantle will sell Atomic Wedgie to the public as a subscription channel at a retail price of $4.95 a month.

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