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‘Merlin’ puts spell on broadcasters

TV formats see brisk biz ahead of Mip TV

BERLIN — “Merlin” continues to spread its magic globally with fourth season renewals in France, Germany and Australia.

BBC One’s hit TV fantasy drama has also been re-upped in Norway and Denmark.

The show now airs in 183 countries worldwide, making it one of the U.K.’s most successful television exports.

The renewals come as production for season four of “Merlin” gets underway in Cardiff and France.

The popular family drama, which stars Colin Morgan and Bradley James, is set to air on BBC One this fall.

In the U.S., “Merlin’s” third season is currently surpassing Syfy’s primetime average by 29%.

In Germany, Super RTL premiered season three as its flagship primetime program, doubling the time-slot average and the network anticipates the same for season four.

FremantleMedia Enterprises, a subsidiary of RTL Group’s FremantleMedia, handles exclusive distribution rights (excluding the U.K.) for the show.

Meanwhile, TV programming sales continue apace in the run-up to the Mip TV content mart, which kicks off next week in Cannes.

Target Ent. has inked a slew of deals for its new factual and entertainment titles, including “On the Record with Fuse,” a music chatshow for Fuse Channel that sold to MTV in Australia and Latin America; Globosat Brazil and ECD Italy.

Factual entertainment show “Tool Academy UK” sold to TV4 Sweden, RTL Netherlands and MTV Australia.

In time for the royal wedding, the one-hour documentary “Kate: The New Diana?” went to M6 France, SBS Netherlands, True Visions Thailand, TV3 Malaysia, TVP Poland and CTV Canada.

London-based distrib DRG closed 10 new deals for new quizshow “Secret Fortune.” The format sold to Starling in France; Nordisk Film and TV in Finland and Shine in Australia.

Hedgehog Media in the Middle East and Medyalab in Turkey also nabbed the skein with further deals in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Earlier this week, BBC One confirmed a second season for the show, which has consistently won its Saturday night 8 p.m. slot in the U.K.

Also on a roll, Endemol announced further sales for its global format “The Money Drop.”

Canale 5 in Italy has commissioned a primetime first series of the gameshow. In the Netherlands, SBS 6 picked up a first run of 10 episodes plus a one-off special. Brazil’s SBT also acquired a first series of 13 episodes, which will debut in primetime this fall.

Less than a year since its launch in the U.K., “Money Drop” has sold to 17 territories around the world.

As for more magical scripted shows, the hit fantasy adventure series “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “The Lost World,” based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, are heading back to TV on the U.K.’s Horror Channel.

Liberty Global’s international broadcasting group Chello Zone licensed basic cable rights to the popular “Xena” from NBC Universal International Television Distribution and acquired “Lost World” from the Fremantle Corp.

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