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MGM TV seeing Green atop syndie ‘Fame L.A.’

NEW YORK — MGM Worldwide TV has signed the Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Patricia Green as the hands-on executive producer of its firstrun syndicated series “Fame L.A.”

Green, whose credits include “L.A. Law” and “Chicago Hope,” wrote the two-hour premiere episode of the series, which begins its syndication life on 147 TV stations representing 90% of the country in September 1997. Kenny Ortega, who directed the theatrical movie musical “Newsies,” will direct the two-hour pilot.

John Symes, president of worldwide TV for MGM, said many of the other new hires have worked more in theatrical movies than in TV. For example, Jeff Pollack, the new music consultant of “Fame L.A.,” did similar duties for “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “First Wives Club.” The soundtrack producer, Robbie Buchanan, worked on Disney’s animated “Pocahontas.” The choreographers are Marguerite Derricks (“Batman and Robin,” “Austin Powers”) and Peggy Holmes (“The Fabulous Baker Boys”).

MGM has also snared the costume designer Robert Turturice, whose most recent assignment is “Batman and Robin.”

Each “Fame L.A.” episode will feature musical numbers originating in such settings as nightclubs, recording studios and TV and movie soundstages, Symes said. The music and dancing will lift the budget to a strapping $1.2 million an hour, according to sources, high for a firstrun syndicated series.

TV stations on board include WCBS New York, KCAL Los Angeles and WICU Chicago. “Fame L.A.” is a joint venture of MGM and Trilogy Entertainment.

The Trilogy partners, Richard B. Lewis, John Watson and Pen Densham,will be co-executive producers with Green of “Fame L.A.” Trilogy also produces “The Outer Limits” and “Poltergeist: The Legacy” for MGM, which syndicates each episode six months after its premiere on Showtime.

In its original incarnation, “Fame,” set in New York City, was a hit 1980 theatrical movie. NBC ran the TV series version on its primetime schedule for a year and a half (January 1982 to August 1983). The series continued in firstrun syndication from 1983 -87.

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