FME unveils TV deals

Distributor tauts Eastern Euro programming

FremantleMedia Enterprises, the distribution arm of the British-based conglom, has unveiled a raft of licensing deals for its shows inked during the recent 15th edition of the Discop TV tradeshow in Budapest.

Event, now owned by the NATPE org, is focused on sales of TV shows to and within the Eastern and Central European territories.

FME chief exec David Ellender said the deals closed by his company accounted for more than 260 hours of programming licensed to 15 broadcasters across the region. There were no details given as to financial terms, but observers generally say competition in the region is starting to make prices rise, not as high as in western Europe but higher than in Asia or Latin America. FME’s growing portfolio of American-originated drama series caused a buzz, according to Ellender, with both Croatia and Poland picking up “The Best Years,” a teen-targeted college-set sudser produced by Blueprint Entertainment and Canada’s CanWest; the John Waters-hosted series “Love You to Death,” about marriages gone bad, was snapped up by stations in Lithuania and Hungary. (Latter series airs on Court TV in the U.S. under the title ” ‘Til Death Do Us Part.”)

Among docs in Fremantle’s portfolio, “Penguin Adventure With Nigel Marven” was picked up by Russia and Slovenia, while comedy “The It Crowd” was licensed in Hungary and Bulgaria.

Format deals continue apace in the region, with Hungary signing on to localize “Poker Face,” the Ukraine optioning “The Price Is Right,” and Serbia and Armenia securing rights to “Going for Gold” and “Family Feud,” respectively. Finally, Romania went for the grime-buster format “How Clean Is Your House?,” and Estonians will do their own version of “Farmer Wants a Wife.”

“Central and Eastern Europe is proving to be a dynamically developing market for FME, with new channels and opportunities emerging throughout the region. We have also seen a huge increase in local production and are confident that the wide range of internationally successful formats acquired will prove extremely popular with local audiences,” Ellender said.

The agreements were brokered by Veronika Gracher, Fremantle’s VP of sales for Eastern and Central Europe.

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