BBC cuts ‘Link’ to ailing ECM

License fee debt causes pubcaster to pull show

LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments.

ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Company also reportedly owes Endemol $125,000 for licensing “Ready Steady Cook” to Greece.

ECM’s financial difficulties started when Procter & Gamble stopped financing its productions a year ago, after the bottom fell out of the advertising market. ECM specializes in barter deals whereby a broadcaster pays a lower license fee but trades a portion of its airtime in return for broadcast rights. P&G advertises its products around the shows it helped finance.

ECM chief operating officer Chris Bonney said it is going through a “financial restructure” and is in discussions with a “number of parties about possible outcomes.” Canadian-based format specialist Distraction Formats has signed a non-disclosure agreement with ECM and is evaluating the company and its assets.

More TV

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Elmarie Wendel, '3rd Rock From the Sun' Actress, Dies at 89

    LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments. ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong […]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Deals on Non-Primetime TV, Telemundo

    LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments. ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong […]

  • Issa Rae, Natasha Rothwell and Yvonne

    'Insecure' Season 3 to Introduce New 'Timely' Show Within The Show

    LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments. ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong […]

  • Nicole MainesVariety Studio Comic-Con, Day 3,

    Nicole Maines on Being TV's First Trans Superhero: 'I'm Nervous Because I Want to Do It Right'

    LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments. ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong […]

  • Man in the High Castle

    Amazon Renews 'The Man in the High Castle' for Season 4

    LONDON — BBC Worldwide has withdrawn Asian distribution rights to hit gameshow “The Weakest Link” from U.K. distribber ECM and is seeking legal advice following a dispute over license fee payments. ECM reportedly owes BBC Worldwide £1 million ($1.56 million) for licensing the format across most of Asia including Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content