Producer Lorenzo reinvents self

Boomerang to produce 10% more drama in '09

MADRID Spanish producer Jose Manuel Lorenzo has reinvented himself yet again, and he’s dipping his toe into international TV waters.

Lorenzo’s latest incarnation is as exec prexy at Spain’s now fast-growing TV producer Boomerang, just a few months after his abrupt departure from film-legit production house Drive Ent.

In January, as Lorenzo landed, British venture capital 3i bought a 40% stake in Boomerang for E36.4 million ($56.78 million).

Both moves have suddenly thrown the spotlight on Boomerang, whose ambitious growth plans call for a tripling in size in five years.

“This means betting far more on internationalization and TV fiction,” Lorenzo says.

The 49-year-old multifaceted exec created Boomerang in 1998, but never had executive oversight. That was left to partners Pedro Ricote, Jose Abril and Juan Jose Diaz, who  formed part of Lorenzo’s first exec team at broadcaster Antena 3 when he was upped to general manager in 1995. Film producer Enrique Cerezo closes the circle of Boomerang’s Spanish shareholders.

Via TV fiction subsid Ida y Vuelta, Boomerang is one of a select producers club that has savored success in Spain’s exacting primetime.

The freshest hit at the Ida y Vuelta factory is school series “Physics or Chemistry,” a drama that includes a teacher-student affair.

“Physics” first season ended March 31, averaging a sturdy 18.1% share and 3.2 million viewers in primetime for broadcaster Antena 3 TV, which reupped the series.

Ida y Vuelta is now reversioning prized BBC series “Life on Mars,” skedded for A3 in 2009.

Only 20% of Boomerang’s TV production is fiction. The company’s ’09 development plans aims to raise this to 30%, says Ida y Vuelta international business coordinator Maria Garcia-Castrillon.

The remaining 80% of Boomerang’s production activity is centered around making regional TV entertainment. Lorenzo has broadened Boomerang’s brief and range, pooling his film and legit projects.

Boomerang’s now producing Chilean Nicolas Lopez’s superhero spoof “Santos” and Agustin Diaz Yanes’ Mexican femme crime drama “Solo quiero caminar,” co-produced with Mexicans Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal’s Canana.

Another production is “A,” a global, ecological musical with musician Nacho Cano, who directed 1980s revival legit tuner “Hoy no me Puedo Levantar” for Drive.

The jury’s out on how Boomerang will grow. But it already has volume — at Mip TV, it will offer a format catalog including primetime genre series such as journo meller “Motivos personales” and criminal squad thriller “Genesis.”

And Lorenzo’s often shown sure market instinct: “Hoy” grossed nearly $70 million in Spain and Mexico. That bodes well.

“Spain’s TV production sector is highly fragmented. The question is, who produces attractive content viewers demand,” says a Madrid-based analyst. “Consolidation is inevitable. TV production companies with talent will attract investment.”

Congloms such as Imagina, Endemol Spain, Vocento’s Veralia and, more recently, Vertice 360 are already showing the way.

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