Fremantle Intl Distribution inks deal with Miramax & Weinstein Co for 'Project Runway'

MUMBAI: Fremantle International Distribution (FID), the distribution arm FremantleMedia, has successfully brokered a key deal with US studio Miramax and Harvey and Bob Weinstein's new company, Weinstein Company Inc. for the hugely successful fashion reality series, Project Runway. The announcement was made by FID managing director David Ellender.

This news comes just as FID learns that Project Runway, along with two of its other hottest properties, American Idol and The Apprentice are among the 57th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominees in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Programme category.

In addition FID also announced its first sale of Project Runway to Viasat Broadcasting in Scandinavia.

The Project Runway acquisition deal includes worldwide rights (excluding the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada) to the American version of the series, as well as the worldwide format, excluding the US, UK, and Italy.

Fremantle International Distribution will handle sales of the series and will work closely with FremantleMedia Worldwide Entertainment, which will be responsible for securing local commissions for the format internationally. Lyndsey Posner of ICM was instrumental in bringing the two groups together.

"The Weinstein's have a tremendous understanding of the global marketplace and are well aware of the inherent power of well -produced content. The Weinstein Company's choice of Fremantle International Distribution as a partner vividly illustrates the division's amazing growth and success," said Ellender.

"I am certain that Fremantle International Distribution was the right choice to handle this show. They will bring Project Runway to new audiences around the world. Fremantle's expertise creates new revenue streams that allow for more creativity and diversity in the shows we develop," said Harvey Weinstein.

Project Runway, which featured super model Heidi Klum and Elle magazine, was a smash-hit success when it aired on Bravo in the US last year. The show's finale attracted over two million viewers, delivering the highest audience figures for any Bravo programme during the 2004-05 season to date. A second series of the show is currently in production.

"Project Runway is a very hip and entertaining show, and considering the huge success it has had in the US, we have no doubt that it will be a fantastic hit worldwide. High fashion is of interest to viewers around the world and we are certain that broadcasters everywhere will be drawn to this global theme," added Ellender.

Hosted by Klum, Project Runway gives 12 talented fashion designers the opportunity of a lifetime - a chance to have their designs shown in front of the global fashion community in New York and displayed in Elle magazine. Through a series of challenges, designers are eliminated, ultimately leaving one to claim their place in fashion's spotlight. In addition, 12 up-and-coming models join the designers on their quest for celebrity. Each week, models are also eliminated until one is left standing.

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