Star Plus to Indianise 'Challenge of the Child Geniuses'

HONG KONG/LOS ANGELES: The Star Group and Fox World, a wholly owned unit of Los Angeles-based Fox Television Studios, have joined forces to produce and distribute popular Fox World-controlled programming formats to Asian television.

Likewise, successful Asian programming formats will be brought to the US and other key television markets around the world. The reciprocal production and distribution agreement is effective immediately.

Challenge... is poised to bring desi child geniuses to the fore in India

According to an ofificial release, Fox Worlds quiz competition series Challenge of the Child Geniuses will be the first format to be produced under the new agreement. The jewel in the broadcaster's crown, Star Plus will launch a Hindi version for primetime telecast starting next year. The programme began as a Fox Broadcasting Company series of specials last year. It culls together the brightest young minds in a nation to challenge one another for the title of smartest kid in the land.

The partnership provides Star Asia's leading multi-channel broadcaster serving more than 300 million viewers in 53 countries across Asia, with the first opportunity to produce local adaptations of Fox Worlds growing portfolio of top format franchises. Fox World is a leading supplier and producer of alternative programming formats, including the more than 12 local adaptations of the "relationship show" Temptation Island. In India, however, Star chucked out the idea of producing an Indian version after a poll on indicated that the Indian audience were averse to the idea.

The release says the agreement also gives Fox World a first look to represent all Star-ontrolled programming formats developed, produced or telecast across the Star Network for local production in the United States and all international programming markets outside of Asia. Fox World will work with its distribution partner 20th Century Fox Television Distribution to maximise the value of these formats as well as any completed local adaptations in international television markets outside of Asia.

Reciprocally, it enables Fortune Star, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Star Group, to represent all Fox World-controlled programming formats for local production in Asia. Star, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and Fox World will work together to devise and implement the best possible strategy for each project. While Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution will continue to handle sales of all US versions of any Fox formats in the territory, Fortune Star will distribute all Asian programming based upon Fox World formats throughout Asia. This includes India, Indonesia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and other rapidly emerging television markets states the release.

Commenting on the alliance, executive V-P, programming for Star Group Limited Steve Askew is quoted as saying: "Fox is renowned throughout the world for its innovative and successful programming formats, most of which have tremendous potential for Asian television. Moreover, as the Asian markets become mature, we are keen to bring Star successful programming formats to the US and other regions. Fox is our ideal partner to raise the production ambition for Asian programming around the world."

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