KWI spins ‘Wheel’ to Vietnam

Pact calls for 104 episodes over 2 years

“Wheel of Fortune” soon will start spinning in Vietnam in a first-of-its-kind deal put together by distrib King World Intl.

VTV, that country’s only national broadcaster, will air a localized version of the hit U.S. gameshow once a week, probably in primetime, beginning in April.

The deal, for 104 episodes over two years, was put together by King World Intl. prexy Fred Cohen and VP international sales Ted Bookstaver, and took several years to come together.

It comes in the wake of re-established diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam and the signing of a bilateral trade deal in July.

Lai Van Sam, the head of one of VTV’s four channels, will host the show. The partners are looking for an appropriate Vanna White personage in Vietnam.

“It’s great to have VTV join our worldwide family of gameshow broadcasters,” said Cohen, who was licensing formats of “Wheel,” “Hollywood Squares” and “Jeopardy!” globally long before the current craze for reality shows took hold.

Although Cohen would not discuss license fees, he said the money mounts up because deals generally last for years and the shows often air daily.

At the upcoming Mip TV trade show in Cannes, Cohen and his team will host a gameshow workshop for his “family” of worldwide formatters. A delegation from Vietnam recently spent a week in the U.S. taking notes on the production of “Wheel.”

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