Forta to air ‘Fringe,’ ‘Damages’

Spanish group takes several U.S. series

MADRID — Spain’s regional pubcasters association, Forta, has closed on a fistful of Hollywood skeins, headed by sci-fi drama “Fringe” and Glenn Close legal thriller “Damages,” to broadcast from the upcoming 2009-10 season.

Acquisitions form part of two long-term drama and movie volume deals inked by Forta with Warner Bros. Intl. TV and Sony Pictures TV Intl.

A powerful Spanish regional TV consortium, Forta has also taken TNT’s ad-agency-set drama “Trust Me,” which, like “Fringe,” comes to Forta via a multi-year agreement signed with Warner and shared with Spain’s nationwide pubcaster RTVE.

“Damages” leads a pack of series sold internationally by Sony, including A&E’s Patrick Swayze-starring FBI procedural “The Beast” and AMC’s Bryan Cranston vehicle “Breaking Bad.”

The Sony-Forta volume deal is also partially shared with RTVE.

Created in 1989, Forta co-ordinates and manages services to 12 Spanish regional pubcasters, including TV rights acquisitions.

In May, Forta partners averaged a 14% share, a robust result in Spain’s rapidly fragmenting analog free-to-air TV market.

While U.S. dramas and movies, local fiction and newscast form Forta’s predominant programming, from the 2009/10 season, soccer will increase its presence at Forta channels via a weekly match broadcast from the European Champions League soccer competition, one of Spain’s highest-rating TV draws.