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Canucks nab Fremantle

Kaleidoscope buys Fremantle Corp.

The Fremantle Corp., the New York-based TV distrib that brought “Baywatch” to the world, has been acquired by Canada’s Kaleidoscope Entertainment.

The co-owners of Toronto-based Kaleidoscope, Randy Zalken and Marshall Kesten, unveiled the recent acquisition Tuesday. No pricetag was available.

The Fremantle Corp., founded by the late Paul Talbot in 1952, sold innumerable soaps, series, gameshows and docs to the global market and has repped a variety of indie producers. Talbot was the first U.S. distrib to license format rights to game, talk and reality shows in the late ’50s. He remained active in the biz until his death last year.

Kaleidoscope has been Talbot’s Canadian rep for two decades. Fremantle Corp. will become a Toronto corporation.

Fremantle Corp. will continue to search out properties for representation abroad, both from Canadian indies and from U.S. producers.

Longtime Fremantle Corp. execs Diane Tripp and Blanca Pertierra remain with the company and will continue to be based in Gotham. They will report to Lisa Dunn, who is VP of sales and acquisitions at Kaleidoscope.

Dunn told Daily Variety she and Tripp would be at the Banff TV Festival, which begins Sunday, and at Mipcom in October to talk up the company’s interest in repping indie producers abroad.

Among Fremantle Corp.’s current properties are sudser “All My Children,” evergreen comedies like “Candid Camera,” new sitcoms like “Girls Behaving Badly,” Canuck period dramas “The Campbells” and “Swiss Family Robinson” and reality show “So You Want to Be a Soap Star?”

(Fremantle Corp. has no current relation to the similarly named FremantleMedia. A number of Fremantle Corp.’s program rights were acquired by All American TV a dozen years ago, and eventually that latter company ended up in the hands of Bertelsmann’s RTL. RTL’s distribution units were consolidated and adopted the umbrella name FremantleMedia. The two Fremantles have no equity relationship.)

Founded in 1982, Kaleidoscope is a privately held company, whose other components include Morningstar Entertainment and Venture Licensing. As a producer, Kaleidoscope is prepping a primetime vampire series called “Blood Ties” for Chum TV.

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