‘Tide’ marks ACI’s firstrun syndie bow

ACI, an L.A.-based consortium of telepic producers, is breaking into the firstrun syndication business by acquiring U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the weekly action-adventure comedy series “High Tide.”

Twenty-four episodes of the straight barter series from Franklin/Waterman Entertainment and Straight Throw Limited Prods., starring Rick Springfield, Yannick Bisson and George Segal, are already in production despite the lack of any domestic clearances.

Coin from the international arena will assure that the series goes forward domestically, however many clearances are racked up, company officials said.

“High Tide” is being sold by Columbia Intl. TV in Europe and by Leo Kirch’s Beta Taurus Films in other foreign territories.

The new program marks the second series project for ACI, which recently announced that it is selling off-cable rights to Showtime’s “Super Dave” as well as two movie packages.

ACI prexy Jamie Bennett said “High Tide” is the latest example of a series finding a home in the international marketplace before being sold domestically. Rysher Entertainment set the precedent with “The Highlander,” and Bennett suggested it will become a more frequent practice in the future.

Production is already under way on the 10th episode, which Bennett suggested will give ACI a leg up on the competition in the hour category.

“Tide,” earmarked for a variety of time periods, will be “advertiser friendly” and appeal to both men and women, according to Michael Weiser, exec VP of domestic distribution. He said one of the most logical companions for the series — about two mismatched brothers who partner to track down criminals at beach resorts around the world — is All American TV’s hit “Baywatch.”

The program is being sold on a straight barter split, with the distributor and stations each getting seven minutes of advertising time.

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