HBO production unit getting into high gear

MUMBAI: HBO is re-invigorating its old production unit, HBO Independent Productions, by reviving the business of creating series for broadcast networks. 

The cable channel, which produces Everybody Loves Raymond for CBS, had turned its attention away from that business to concentrate on its own shows.

Among the major new initiatives the AOL Time Warner unit is getting into is with ailing US television network ABC, which is searching for programming that will bring it some worthwhile ratings. HBO and ABC are expected to announce an agreement as per which shows created by HBO will air during ABC's prime-time schedule. The alliance is expected to kick into high gear by late next year when the shows that HBO is creating go on air. 

In the early 1990s, HBO Independent Productions created series like Roc and Martin for the Fox network. However, in the recent past, it chose to focus more on creating original series for its own channel. 

Reports indicate that ABC will finance the two-year agreement during which HBO will develop shows specifically for ABC. HBO is also free to offer a rejected show to other networks.

In the recent past, HBO has gained critical attention and ratings for shows such as the mafia saga The Sopranos and Six Feet Under which earlier this year got a couple of Golden Globe Awards. . 

ABC has seen its ratings plummet over the past couple of years and hence the need for a slew of fresh programme initiatives. Reports indicate that ABC is pushing its development schedule this year and already has more than 15 new projects in development for next fall. They do not include potential programmes from HBO. 

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