Libert Global unit expands TV biz

LONDON — Liberty Global’s Chellomedia is beefing up its channel biz by buying up the bulk of MGM-owned networks around the globe and pacting with CBS to launch branded channels in 83 territories across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Chellomedia’s acquiring the Lion’s channels in Spain, Turkey, Poland, Israel, the Benelux, Poland, India and Southeast Asia. It’s also acquired the 50% stake it didn’t own in MGM Latin America, a joint venture between MGM and Liberty, as well as the outstanding stake of a joint venture in Central Europe.

Chellomedia will run the channels under the MGM name and has entered into a longterm programming deal for library films including “Silence of the Lambs” and “When Harry Met Sally.” 

MGM will keep its channels in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Germany and its ventures in Brazil and Australia.

The CBS deal expands a U.K. venture for CBS-branded channels that the companies bowed in November 2009.

Webs from Chellomedia’s international broadcaster division, Chello Zone, will be reprogrammed and rebranded as CBS Reality, CBS Drama and CBS Action. CBS will receive a 30% stake in the channels, which will continue to be operated by Chello Zone. A new board is being set up with reps from CBS and Chello Zone.

The partners claimed the channels would reach 43 million subscribers.

The channels will be programmed with such fare as “48 Hours,” “Judge Judy,” “Dynasty,” “Star Trek,” “Touched by an Angel” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

As well as drawing from CBS’ library, webs will continue to acquire shows from third-party suppliers.

No financial details were disclosed.

(Jill Goldsmith in New York contributed to this report.)

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