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Granada, New York Times pact for docu programming

Ideas to come from newspaper's coverage

EDINBURGH — Granada Media has pacted with The New York Times to create documentary TV programming. The first co-venture will be a science series due to be unveiled in mid-September.

The alliance will see Granada, the TV division of Granada Group and one of the big three ITV network companies, source ideas for shows for the international market from the newspaper’s coverage. Terms were not disclosed.

The news emerged over the weekend at the Edinburgh TV festival.

Tony Ball, chief exec of BSkyB, used the occasion to reveal he is boosting the satcaster’s original programming budget to $32 million next year. Ball added that he wants to increase the figure to half the budget of the flagship Sky One channel — at present $104 million — over the next two years. The goal is to make 50% of the channel’s output homemade.

Meanwhile, Greg Dyke, the designate director general of the BBC, reportedly intends to move the BBC’s 9:00 evening newscast to 10:00 after he becomes DG next April.

The Edinburgh fest kicked off Friday night with the prestigious MacTaggart lecture, this year delivered by ITV chief exec Richard Eyre.

Eyre declared public service broadcasting on its deathbed, but advocated “public interest broadcasting” instead.

There were other events; Carsey-Werner prexy Caryn Mandabach took everyone by surprise when she asserted her view that women make better TV execs and should have more power.

Another bizarre incident took place when Michael Jackson, chief exec of Channel 4, asserted that a controversial C4 interview with Paula Yates — widow of rock star Michael Hutchence — was public service.

Granada Group chief exec Charles Allen kept to more biz-related matters. Allen called on the government to outline a clear plan for the eventual switch-off of analog TV in Britain. Granada, with Carlton Communications, co-owns ONdigital, the terrestrial rival to BSkyB’s SkyDigital.

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