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Realities of Russia

Endemol inks to open Moscow operation

AMSTERDAM — Global production outfit Endemol on Monday pacted to open its first office in Russia.

Endemol has taken an 80% stake in Endemol Moscow; Moscow-based publishing house Independent Media holds the remaining 20%.

Managing director Leonid Zagalsky, a former journalist, TV and film producer and screenwriter, says Endemol Moscow will be up and running Sept. 2 and its first task will be to supervise shooting the third season of Channel 1’s “Factory of Fame.” Work on the Russian version of the Spanish Endemol format “Operacion Triunfo” is due to begin Sept. 5.

“Endemol formats are very hot in Russia right now,” Zagalsky said, adding he’d met execs of all of the major channels and they were “very eager to produce Endemol reality shows.”

By early next year, said Zagalsky, local versions of Endemol formats “Big Brother” and “Fear Factory” will be launched on Channel 1, Russia’s biggest.

Popular programs

Endemol entered Russia in 2001 with “Factory of Fame” as well as the U.S. edition of “Fear Factor.” The two have been among the most popular programs in Russia.

In addition to plans to exploit the 500-title Endemol catalog, the Moscow office will develop interactive TV and advertising funded programming for the Russian market.

Independent Media is headed by Dutch entrepreneur and journalist Derk Sauer.

Before joining Endemol, Zagalsky spent four months in Cuba shooting “The Amphibian,” a TV series to air on Russia’s Channel 2 at the end of December.