In February, Warner Bros Television Group said it had entered into an agreement to acquire the businesses of Netherlands-based producer Eyeworks outside the U.S. Today, the studio confirms it has received the required regulatory approvals and has completed the transaction. In yet another instance of key consolidation in the indie TV production space, Warner is buying Eyeworks’ interests in 15 territories across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The deal adds 13 new markets to Warners’ international network of production companies, helping it establish a strong foothold. Warner Bros is also taking over all of Eyeworks’ international distribution activities for both formats and finished product.
Global Showbiz Briefs: 3 Warner Bros TV Series Headed To Asia; Italian Exhibitors Blast TV Airing Of ‘The Great Beauty’; More
‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘ER’ Getting Local Versions In Asia
Warner Bros Television Group series Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and ER have been commissioned and optioned as local versions in the Philippines, Thailand and India, respectively. In the Philippines, ABC Development Corporation is in production on Pretty Little Liars with the 22-episode adaptation to air on TV5 in April. The show ranks as the No. 1 original series of all time on ABC Family, where its 5th season will air this summer. In Thailand, Kantana Public Company Limited is producing an 18-episode local adaptation of Gossip Girl. In India, ER is under option with Gold Television Network. This follows the announcement last month that a Colombian version of the show was going forward.
Speculation has been swirling around a Warner Bros acquisition of Netherlands-based TV producer Eyeworks for several weeks. Warner Bros Television Group now says it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of Eyeworks’ businesses outside the U.S., in 15 territories across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The purchase is an important part of WB Television Group’s growth strategy as it aims to establish a strong foothold in major TV production markets around the world. Ronald Goes, EVP and head of Warner Bros International Television Production, said today, “Eyeworks has the scale to help grow our presence in the global marketplace, as well as quality production capabilities and broadcaster relationships. I am confident that, as part of Warner Bros, it will continue to create and produce high quality content that can become franchises and be exported to create local versions in other markets around the world.” Among shows Eyeworks already makes are Celebrity Splash!, Extreme Weight Loss and Test The Nation. The company also recently signed a development deal with Fox Television Studios to jointly develop scripted programming originating from Scandinavian writers for the U.S. and international markets.
The acquisition by Warner Bros, for which financials were not provided, is subject to regulatory approval. The deal will add 13 new territories to Warner’s existing network of local production companies. Warner already has a majority stake in UK production group Shed Media and in BlazHoffski Holdingan, an indie producer that operates in The Netherlands and Belgium.
Warner Bros Television and the creators of Smallville are not taking their multimillion-dollar legal battle to a jury after all. Lawyers for WBTV and co-creators/writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough announced in a hearing today that they have reached a settlement in their breach of contract and conflict of interest dispute. No details of the settlement were made public. LA Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson told the parties today that they now have until August 30 to file a formal request for dismissal. Millar and Gough along with Tollin/Robbins Productions claimed in their initial $100 million vertical integration suit, first filed in March 2010, that WBTV signed low-balling licensing deals with the WB and later the CW that were nowhere near the requisite arms-length nor conducted with the good faith that they should have been. Tollin/Robbins came to a settlement with WBTV back in early January.
This was sent to Warner Bros Television Group employees today:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to let you know that, following several months of uncertainty, my 26-year run at Warner Bros. has come to an end.
I have had the pleasure of working alongside the most talented, creative and innovative people in our business … from our executives and staff to the amazing group of creative talent both in front of and behind the cameras. Each of your contributions helped Warner Bros. set the standard for excellence in the television industry. The magnitude of what you have accomplished has been and continues to be a truly meaningful contribution to Warner Bros.’ overall success and a matter of great pride to myself.
Deadline’s Nikki Finke broke the story over the weekend that Bruce Rosenblum was leaving his post as head of Warner Bros Television. Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed Saturday night and made it official today with a release and a memo to staff from he and Warners chairman Barry Meyer. The restructuring (see below) at the TV division, as expected, includes expanded duties for Peter Roth who is now president and COO. Here’s the memo that went around:
In his 25 years at Warner Bros., as all of you know, Bruce helped build one of the world’s most successful global television production and distribution operations. With his great energy, skill, creativity and vision, Bruce – and the strong team he has built around him – was responsible for some of the most popular and successful television series of all time, including “Friends,” “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Two Broke Girls,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Bachelor.”
Bruce has been a vital member of the Warner Bros. family and a good friend to so many of us, and he will be missed.
Please join us in congratulating Bruce for his remarkable tenure at the Studio and wishing him great success as he embarks on the next chapter of his career and life.
Here are the details of the restructuring from today’s release:
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV Shake-Up – Top Exec Bruce Rosenblum Settled Out And Peter Roth Signed To Big Long-Term Deal; All The Behind-The-Scenes Drama & Detail
UPDATE SUNDAY 2 PM: Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara is finally confirming internally my news that Warner Bros Television Group Bruce Rosenblum is exiting. This, after Tsujihara for months and even in recent weeks has told almost everyone there that Rosenblum was staying.
BREAKING … SATURDAY 10 PM… EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood always fires people in success, or so the saying goes. I’ve learned that the announcement by Warner Bros Entertainment CEO (and soon-to-be-chairman) Kevin Tsujihara is planned for 7 to 14 days after next week’s TV upfront presentations. Despite Tsujihara’s claims for months that he hadn’t made up his mind what to do about the brilliant but sharp-elbowed Bruce Rosenblum, I can tell you Tsujihara declared from Day One of his new job that “Bruce is an unnecessary layer of management”. This, even though Rosenblum’s Warner Bros Television Group consistently contributes half of Warner Bros Entertainment’s profits year after year. I’m told that Rosenblum won’t be replaced as President of the Warner Bros Television Group now that he’s quietly settled out his contract which expires in August. (Tsujihara never made a move to negotiate a new one for him.) Some already expect Rosenblum not to turn up at next week’s upfronts. Instead Bruce is sitting on a fat severance package in recognition of his more than two outstanding decades at Warner Bros and for keeping his mouth shut during the humiliation of losing the WB CEO job and then getting kicked to the curb on top of that. Many in Hollywood thought Tsujihara might keep Rosenblum in place rather than bust up what is so obviously a winning formula atop the TV group. Instead Tsujihara proved that, just like his Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes, he is more obsessed by politics and personality than profit. (“It would have been pretty awkward, quite frankly,” Tsujihara told the TV community about keeping Rosenblum on.)
Warner Bros Television President Peter Roth has just been signed to a new long-term deal and will report to Tsujihara for the first time. Roth reps the increasing power of content and the executives directly responsible for its creation. ”As I look at the key people that exist, Peter comes at the top of the list. He’s at the top of the game right now creatively,” Tsujihara enthused privately on Day One of his new job. But Rosenblum’s roles will be assumed by a new WBTV leadership mix including Warner Bros TV Group EVP Craig Hunegs, Warner Bros International Distribution President Jeffrey Schlesinger, and Warner Bros Television EVP Brett Paul. (“Peter is the big teddy bear but Brent was sent in to beat you up,” notes one exec.) These guys are some of what Bewkes was referring to back on January 28th when he talked about the “very strong benches of people beneath”. All will become the TV group’s new sharp-elbowed negotiators who won’t rub people the wrong way like Rosenblum did.
It’s been a professional and emotional roller-coaster for Rosenblum ever since he expected the top job and didn’t get it.
UPDATED: J.J. Abrams is staying put at Warner Bros Television. The uber-writer-director-producer has closed a new three-year development and production deal with the TV studio, where Bad Robot Prods — which Abrams runs with long-time partner Bryan Burk — has been based since 2006. Back then, Abrams inked simultaneously two massive deals: a first-look pact with Paramount and a development/production deal with Warner Bros TV. In February, Abrams and Paramount extended their deal through end of 2015. Now the new pact with WBTV will keep him at the studio until 2015.
With his old deal coming up, I hear there was no question on Warner Bros’ or Abrams’ mind whether to continue the relationship. Like with any deals of that scope (the original deal reportedly guaranteed $4 million plus $2 million in overhead per year), it took time for terms to be negotiated. (UPDATE: We hear a major sticking point was the fact that the Bad Robot-produced CBS series Person of Interest is not available online.) But while talks were going on, it was business as usual on the development and production side, as evidenced by the pilot production commitment that Bad Robot and WBTV landed at Fox last night for a robot-cop drama written by Fringe showrunner J.H. Wyman. Under the extension, Bad Robot will continue developing new TV projects to be produced in association with Warner Bros Television, with Abrams and Burk serving as executive producers.
Alloy Entertainment, which has been based at Warner Bros TV for a long time, will now officially be part of the Warner Bros family. WBTV parent the Warner Bros Television Group has signed a deal to acquire Alloy from an investor group led by ZelnickMedia, which bought the leading producer of youth-oriented content in November 2010 in connection with the go-private transaction of Alloy Inc. Leslie Morgenstein, who has served as president of Alloy and its predecessor, 17th Street Productions, since 1999, will stay on to run the company within WBTVG. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to occur in the third calendar quarter.
WBTVG currently produces and distributes five series co-produced by Alloy: Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game and the upcoming 666 Park Avenue, all of which started as successful Alloy book franchises aimed at teen girls and young women. In addition, Alloy properties have also been produced for the big screen including Warner Bros Pictures’ two Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants films and Warner Premiere’s The Clique. In addition to film and television, Alloy is the world’s most successful independent packager of fiction. Alloy Entertainment will continue to collaborate on production and distribution of original digital programming with former sister division, Alloy Digital, which operates a top-ranking media and video network focused on the 12-34 demographic and recently …