Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hispanic TV deal expands Spain inclusion

Telemundo, Endemol Spain ink sweeping telenovela pact
By Steve Brennan, Reuters, Mar 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The unprecedented leapfrogging of TV program formats across the world, a hallmark of today's global television arena, has been dramatically underscored by a deal between Hispanic U.S. network Telemundo and Endemol Spain under which hit Latin American telenovelas will be remade with Spanish casts for Spanish audiences.

The Spanish versions also will be syndicated worldwide by Telemundo.

Telemundo is bringing a wide menu of hit titles to the table -- "Pasion de Gavilanes," "Victoria," "Dame Chocolate," "Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso," "El Cuerpo del Deseo" and many others that have aired in more than 100 countries in their original versions.

The agreement, set to be announced Monday, spells out a wide-ranging co-production and distribution effort between the companies to adapt Telemundo titles, including formats other than novelas, for the Spanish marketplace and distribute them at the international level. No decision has been made on which series will launch the long-term deal.

"Having successfully aired our productions in Spain for more than four consecutive years, this deal represents the natural evolution of our business in that market," Telemundo president Don Browne said. "The next step after syndicating our original content is to export our formats to be produced locally, and we have found an ideal partner in Endemol."

Endemol Spain boss Toni Cruz said the agreement will allow his company to produce Telemundo's most successful stories "and adapt them to the taste of our local market," adding, "Obtaining stories that have proved successful at an international level is critical for our company."

Endemol Spain already has a lot of experience in producing telenovelas through its various local production entities, but the Telemundo deal takes it to a new level. It also marks another important step for Telemundo in an expansion of its production and distribution operations with partnerships in the U.S. and internationally during the past few years.

Last year, Telemundo partnered with Sony Pictures Television International to co-produce the primetime novela "Dona Barbara." It marked the second time the two studios collaborated on an original novela, the first being ratings topper "Zorro: La Espada y la Rosa."

Additionally, Telemundo Studios and TV Globo last year signed an agreement to co-produce the hit novela "El Clon" for the U.S. Hispanic market. The show will be produced by Telemundo Studios in Colombia, and TV Globo will provide the original format.

Telemundo also has sold telenovela formats worldwide, including the Chilean hit "Los Treinta" to Portugal and Russia. "Amor Descarado's" format has been sold to India, the Netherlands, Greece and Spain. The "Quinceanera" format is running for its third season in Indonesia.

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