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Global Showbiz Briefs: Czech Republic Contracts ‘The Office’; ‘Ugly Betty’ In The Middle East; ‘Grace Of Monaco’ French Release Shifted

officeThe Czech Republic is about to go inside The Office. BBC Worldwide has signed a local production deal with broadcaster Czech Television for a local version of the show that will be produced in-house for channel CT1. The first six episode series goes into production in January. Ricky Gervais, co-creator of The Office UK, said, “I’m extremely flattered and excited that there is about to be a new version of The Office. Prague was the first place in the world to produce a stage version, so I’m very glad a local adaptation is coming to TV too. Cue jokes about Gervais and another fat Cheque.” The Czech version will be based on the UK show that Gervais created with Stephen Merchant and is the 9th international sale of the format. Casting for the series has begun and actor Václav Kopta is confirmed to play the lead part of Marek Chvála, aka David Brent. The Office will be renamed as Kancl, slang for office or workplace.

ugly bettySony Pictures Television has made a first deal for its Arabic version of telenovela Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty in the States) with leading pay TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, OSN, acquiring the premiere rights. The regional broadcaster has acquired all 90 episodes of the series, which will be called Hebal Regal El Ghorab (Crow’s Foot) and … Read More »

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Disney-ABC Strikes New Streaming Deals With Netflix And Amazon

Disney’s announcement with Netflix this morning extends and expands a current deal, giving the streaming service rights to several shows 30 days after the last episode of the season airs. The one with Amazon is new and includes more than 800 library episodes. Both include prior seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and all episodes of Lost. They also both landed ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Phineas and Ferb. Beyond that there are a lot of differences, with Amazon landing prior seasons of Marvel’s animated shows including X-Men Evolution and Netflix getting ABC Studios’ Army Wives. Here’s the release for Netflix:

BEVERLY HILLS and BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 — Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Disney-ABC Television Group today announced that they recently entered into an extension of their previous existing licensing agreement. The extension allows Netflix to continue to stream hundreds of library episodes from ABC Studios, Disney Channel and ABC Family over the Internet. As part of the deal, Netflix is also adding new content to its lineup of Disney-ABC series and TV movies.

The agreement adds to the growing selection of content that can be streamed from Netflix in the United States. Episodes from new seasons of current Disney-ABC series will be made available to Netflix 30-days after the last episode of each season airs. Among the series and TV movies extended as part of the deal include:

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Lionsgate Planning To Sell TVGuide.com; Will Deal For TV Guide Network Come Next?

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate wants to unload TVGuide.com and, even more importantly, is at least considering an ownership change at TV Guide Network, which has been ordered to balance its books in anticipation of a potential sale. We hear that the studio has begun to interview investment bankers who can quietly sell the consumer website which, like the cable channel, is a 50-50 joint venture with JP Morgan Chase’s global private equity investment arm One Equity Partners. The website is thought to be worth anywhere from $50M to $100M. Lionsgate is intent on shedding what it considers to be non-core assets (just like Lionsgate recently sold its stake in Maple Pictures). TV Guide Network’s owners just secured long-term carriage agreements with the major cable operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter, further increasing its value. But putting a dollar figure on the TV Guide Network suggests that Lionsgate and One Equity Partners want to at least begin a discussion that could lead to one of the partners buying the other out.

Lionsgate would seem to be the more likely buyer if things go that far: It has said that it wants to build its presence in TV channels; it also owns major stakes in Epix, FearNet, and Asia’s Tiger Gate. ”They’ve made it clear that they have a TV channel strategy,” says Hudson Square Research’s Marla Backer. Lionsgate paid $241.6M for the TV Guide website and network in February 2009. Three months later, One Equity Partners teamed up with investor and producer Allen Shapiro and paid $122.4M for half of the combined operation. Shapiro is chairman of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com and is now taking on leadership of the network’s programming. (He initially was buying TV Guide from Macrovision until Lionsgate swooped in at the last minute. Ultimately, Shapiro secured a sizeable chunk of it.) Read More »

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More Latino TV? Showrunner Silvio Horta

By | Sunday April 17, 2011 @ 1:46am PDT

This weekend, the 2011 National Association of Latino Independent Producers Conference is meeting in Newport Beach. Now in its 12th year, the confab is attended annually by Latino actors, executives, producers, and those interested in Latino film and television content. This year’s theme is “The New Now: Defining the Future Together”. But the most recent TV report card from the National Latino Media Council accused the four major TV networks of declining Latino diversity both in front of and behind the camera. “This was a terrible year for Latinos at the networks,” summed up NMLC president Alex Nogales. And among broadcast pilots for the 2011-2012 season, there’s only the CBS pilot starring Rob Schneider as a confirmed bachelor who has just married into a tight-knit Mexican-American family, and Fox’s Little In Common which includes a Latin family. The last Latino show on a network was ABC’s telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty which debuted to critical acclaim in 2006 but never enjoyed the network’s full support. When it was cancelled a year ago, Deadline TV contributor Diane Haithman first talked with its 36-year-old showrunner Silvio Horta and then again after the NLMC report card came out:

DEADLINE: What are your thoughts about the National Latino Media Council’s network report card?
SILVIO HORTA: Look, I think there are 50 million Latinos in the U.S. To have more Latino faces and more Latinos working in the industry would seem not just good for diversity, it seems like good business. Personally, I’d rather see accurate and well-done portrayals, and a … Read More »

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Tracy Poust and Jon Kinnally Ink UMS Deal, Join ‘Love Bites’ As Writing Showrunners

Nellie Andreeva

JonKinnally_TracyPoustFormer Will & Grace executive producers/showrunners Tracy Poust and Jon Kinnally have inked a two-year overall deal with Universal Media Studios. Under the pact, said to be seven-figure per year, the two have joined new NBC/UMS anthology dramedy series Love Bites as executive producers. They will serve as writing showrunners on the show, working alongside executive producers/non-writing showrunners Shelley McCrory and director Marc Buckland. Poust and Kinnally replace Love Bites creator Cindy Chupack who recently stepped down from day-to-day showrunner duties because of personal matters but continues to write for the show.

Under their overall deal with UMS, Poust and Kinnally, who are friends with Chupack, originally planned to consult on Love Bites while focusing on development. But when approached for the showrunner gig, the duo, who spent the last 4 years on ABC’s Ugly Betty, decided to go for it, segueing to another hourlong dramedy and reuniting with Betty co-star Becki Newton, who is the star of Love Bites. Newton, who recently announced she is pregnant, presents one of the challenges Love Bites currently faces as her character is virgin in the pilot. Another challenge is the pending departure of Jordana Spiro who was to topline the series with Newton but her character will be phased out because of the actress’ commitment to TBS’ My Boys. Newton’s baby news and Chupack’s exit from the helm of the show led to NBC’s decision to pull Love Bites from the fall schedule, … Read More »

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Unemployed ‘Ugly Betty’ Crew Blame Schwarzenegger For Show’s NY Move

It’s always been repugnant to me that, despite his years in Hollywood, Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has done less than zero to stop runaway production or enact incentives to lure TV shows and films back to California and even Los Angeles. (Then again, very little that this piss poor political parvenu has done in the job deserves praise, period.) Clearly, I’m not alone in my lousy opinion of him. Because I’m told that most of the Los Angeles-based crew of the ABC hit show Ugly Betty are placing a full-page ad in Friday’s Variety that begs state and Los Angeles officials to do something to keep productions local. Many in the crew are losing their jobs after Ugly Betty became the first TV series to announce it’s leaving Los Angeles just two weeks after New York passed a bunch of new new tax credits to lure more showbiz productions. A source tells me that several dozen vendors for the series are paying for the ad “because they not only appreciate us and support us, but they are losing business, too.” Yes, the ad is addressed to other officials besides Ah-nuld. And so far there’s been barely a word from LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. But we all know that, in the case of California, the fish stinks from the head. And Schwarzenegger is too busy hanging around a Brentwood coffee cafe every morning enjoying his breakfast to bother with important state business like this. (And it also smells just as bad in the vicinity … Read More »

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