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King takes rights to Heatter gameshows

Original 'Squares,' other TV formats included in catalog

King World Intl., the foreign sales arm of the syndie powerhouse, has snapped up exclusive international format rights to a large catalog of TV gameshows from Merrill Heatter Prods.

Four-time Emmy winner Merrill Heatter created the original “Hollywood Squares” as well as hundreds of hours of other hit gameshows for network and syndication.

KWI will represent worldwide, outside North America, the Heatter-owned classic gameshow formats as well as new ones, including “Ambush,” a contempo version of the old network show “Gambit”; “Lucky Numbers”; “Take It All Off”; “Spin”; “Hollywood Teasers”; “Pinball Fantasy”; “Battle Stars”; “Bargain Hunters”; and “Bedroom Fantasies.” No figure was available for the deal.

KWI has extensive international gameshow format experience, licensing local versions of “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy!” and “Hollywood Squares” around the world.

“These Heatter Productions shows are perfect for the international market in that they are easy to adapt, cost-effective and young-skewing,” Steve Friedman, KWI’s head of production, told Daily Variety. KWI specializes in assisting foreign TV clients to adapt formats in their own language and their own culture, Friedman added.

The distrib will introduce the newly acquired catalog at the Mipcom TV trade show in Cannes next weekHeatter will also attend the show.

“Most of these formats, both classic and new, have never been seen outside the U.S. and will help to meet the growing overseas demand for quality TV gameshows with strong demographic appeal,” KWI president Fred Cohen said.

The KWI execs would not be drawn on the progress of the acquisition of King World by CBS, which in turn is now being acquired by Viacom. KWI will continue to operate out of its own exhibition stand during Mipcom.

“As a producer, I have always been impressed with KW’s sales ability, and their global strategy of providing their licensees with continuing production, marketing and promotion support,” Heatter said.