(April 12, 2000 – Cannes, France) – Warner Bros. International Television (WBIT) and Lagardere Medias, through its subsidiary Europe Audiovisuel, have formed a major, long-term strategic alliance to co-produce and co-finance English-language television productions for worldwide distribution as well as French-language television series and TV movies for the French television market. The announcement was made today at MIP-TV in Cannes by Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. International Television, and Jean-Pierre Ozannat, CEO, Europe Audiovisuel. Through this new alliance, WBIT and Europe Audiovisuel will produce high-quality French-language television series and TV movies for the French television market in a structure similar to the traditional U.S. network system. These projects, with outstanding production values, will be licensed to the commissioning French broadcaster for a set number of runs, with Warner Bros. and Europe Audiovisuel retaining domestic second cycle rights in France, as well as international and U.S. distribution rights outside of France (with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution handling the sales outside France). On the English-language front, Europe Audiovisuel will join WBIT in co-financing and/or co-producing a wide range of high-quality television product intended for worldwide distribution and exploitation. WBIT and Europe Audiovisuel have committed substantial resources to cover development, production and overhead costs, which may include dedicated personnel based in Paris and Burbank. The companies have already identified several French-language projects in various stages of development to be covered by the new pact. “While American features and selected television series are still enjoying success on network television in France, the strong performance of local language programming makes this venture a compelling opportunity,” said Schlesinger. “This new venture with Europe Audiovisuel signals our commitment to being at the forefront of local programming as well as the continuation of bringing successful American programming to the global marketplace.” “In today’s production environment, it only makes sense to share the risks involved and the costs associated with launching a project,” said Ozannat. “Partnering with an industry leader like Warner Bros. is a very interesting development of us in the local and worldwide television markets.” “Our association with Europe Audiovisuel is an extremely exciting opportunity for both of our companies,” said Catherine Malatesta, Senior Vice President, International Television Production, WBIT, who negotiated the deal on behalf of WBIT. “The combination of both of our companies’ resources and expertise is sure to result in a number of great projects.” Warner Bros. International Television began its foray into international television production in 1995 as part of a strategic initiative to create globally appealing programming in association with European production companies and networks. Since then, WBIT has produced or financed more than 180 hours of original programming with a variety of international producers, broadcasters and investors, in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, France and Germany. Among WBIT’s credits are the animated series “The Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor” (Cartoon Network) and “Zorro” (syndicated), the live-action series “The New Adventures of Robin Hood” (TNT and syndicated), “Police Academy: The Series” (syndicated), and the upcoming Canadian-French co-production, “Code Name: Eternity,” as well as the gripping two-hour television movie “Terror in the Mall” (Fox). The live-action suspense series “Dark Realm” is currently in production. Europe Audiovisuel was formed in 1996 as a subsidiary of Lagardere Medias operating in three main activities: TV production, movie production and distribution of one of the largest French libraries of TV product. Europe Audiovisuel is the mother company of GMT Productions, DEMD Productions, Image et Compagnie, Léo Productions, Les Films d’Ici, 13 Production, Palette Production, Studio 1, Hachette Première and Europe Images International.
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