HBO series heads to Romanian, Czech markets

BUDAPEST — Kicking off a drive to produce more inhouse drama, HBO Central Europe has pacted with Dori Media Distribution for local versions of HBO’s “In Treatment” for the Romanian, Hungarian, Czech and Polish markets. 

Neither the price of the format deal nor production budget were released.

HBO CE chief exec Linda Jensen said a Romanian version of the series will be first, with an inaugural season of 40-plus episodes scheduled for fall 2010.

Based on its success in Romania, Jensen said HBO CE will make locally adapted versions for Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland.

“We want to make the series feel local,” Jensen said. “I think it is a great format, and it gives us a lot of flexibility to work with.”

“In Treatment,” based on the Israeli series “Be tipul,” portrays a psychiatrist in real-time sessions with patients and his own therapist.

Jensen said she saw the HBO version starring Gabriel Byrne with the intention of buying it for her network. “After the third episode,” Jensen said, “I thought, We shouldn’t buy this, we should make it.”

Jensen said she was drawn by the relatively low production costs (episodes are restricted to a single set), and the show’s popularity on HBO’s on demand service, which is a feature HBO Central Europe is developing.

Jensen said the Romanian producers of the series will decide how closely this version will adhere to the “In Treatment” format. Certain characters, such as the military pilot, may have to be adapted to local circumstances.

But generally, HBO CE believes the psychiatric theme will have special resonance in central Europe.

“In acquiring this format, we like to think that we’re bringing Freud home,” said Jensen, referring to the fact that the father of psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, was born in 1856 in a village that is now part of the Czech Republic.

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