Taffner, Beyond ink pact

SYDNEY — Taffner Ramsay Prods., an Australian subsid of New York-based DLT Entertainment, has been absorbed into a joint venture company with leading Oz producer-distrib Beyond Intl.

The new concern, Taffner Beyond Prods., fills the sitcom/light entertainment gap in Beyond’s TV stable. It joins Beyond’s other successful joint- venture TV companies: Liberty Beyond (producers of hit dramas “Fire” and “Medivac: Adrenalin Junkies”); Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier (“Halifax fp,” “Good Guys, Bad Guys” and the upcoming “Dog Woman” with “Babe’s” Magda Szubanski); and youth outfit Beyond Imagination.

Each retains a large degree of creative autonomy, while output is distribbed globally by Beyond.

The deal, which DLT chief exec John Fitzgerald said gave his Oz unit “added potential,” improves distribution and sales arrangements for Taffner Ramsay’s shows, which include “Australia’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Funniest People” and “Making Babies.”

For Beyond, the deal bolsters its presence in DLT’s major markets —the U.S. and U.K., where Beyond has representative offices — and comes just a month after rival Oz producer-distrib Southern Star gained a foothold in the U.K. with a friendly takeover of producer-distrib Circle Communications (Daily Variety, May 15).

“We are proud to join forces with such a well-established international company who have a long and successful history in entertainment and comedy programs,” Beyond managing director Mikael Borglund said.

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