SET acquires ?Extreme Makeover?, AXN ?The Amazing Race? from BVIT-AP

CANNES: Buena Vista International Television Asia Pacific, the distribution arm of Walt Disney Television International, does things in twos it looks like.

BVIT-AP has just announced the sale of rights to the formats of the reality TV shows The Amazing Race to Sony Pictures Television International?s action channel AXN Asia and Extreme Makeover to SPTI?s Indian Hindi entertainment channel SET.

AXN Asia has acquired the rights to localize BVITV-AP?s three-time Emmy Award winning The Amazing Race as too SET India as regards Extreme Makeover.

It is worth noting that BVIT A-P had earlier sold the right to two of the breakout shows of 2004 - Desperate Housewives and Lost - to Star World (Asia Territory) and Star Movies (India territory) respectively.

It was back in April that had first reported that the company was looking to sell the rights to the formats of The Amazing Race and Extreme Makeover to Indian broadcasters. BVITV-AP senior vice president and managing director Steve Macallister had told then that the company was looking at creating local versions of The Amazing Race in certain Asian markets. "India is certainly a possibility. Another show is Extreme Makeover," he had said.

Commenting on the developments, Macallister said, "Extreme Makeover is one of our most successful reality franchises and is spearheading BVITV-AP?s strategy to provide localised content in the Asia Pacific region. We look forward to working with Sony Entertainment Television in taking the format and adapting it for the local audience. The opportunity to change one?s life is a theme of universal significance and as a result we are sure Extreme Makeover will prove a great hit with Indian viewers."

SET India executive vice president and business head Tarun Katial said, "We at Sony Entertainment Television constantly endeavor to provide innovative and engaging content for our viewers and are extremely excited to bring one of the most popular makeover shows - Extreme Makeover - the first of its kind, to India. We look forward to working with BVITV-AP in this association."

About The Amazing Race, Macallister said, ?This is the first pan-Asia format deal for a reality-competition show and an excellent example of how great content can transcend geographies and cultures.?

?Each season of The Amazing Race has a reach of 16 million viewers across Asia through AXN, with a huge loyal following due to its outstanding ability to capture a sense of adventure. It is the dream of a lifetime for many of our viewers to be part of the show and we have received many written requests for AXN to produce an Asian version. So I am sure the decision to produce an Asian version that is made in Asia for Asians will receive a huge "wow" from our viewers. We are ecstatic to be the first channel to localize the show, and we have high expectations for the Asian version to achieve even greater success,? said Ricky Ow, general manager, SPE Networks - Asia.

Extreme Makeover is a one-hour US reality series that transforms participants and provides them with the 'Cinderella' experience of a lifetime. The US version of Extreme Makeover features two people, first in their "before" phase, then as they undergo their various procedures, and finally, when the end results are revealed to their families.

The US show has been previously licensed to broadcasters across Asia Pacific including Channel 9 Australia, TVNZ New Zealand, Channel 5 Singapore, I-Cable Hong Kong, IVM Indonesia and TVNZ-PS Fiji.

Extreme Makeover was a top performing show in Australia and New Zealand, and ranked in the top primetime programs on Channel 9 and TVNZ for the 2004-2005 season.

For BVITV-AP, this agreement was negotiated by the company's India head Amit Malhotra.

The Amazing Race, which recently received its third consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program, reaches over 23 territories in Asia Pacific. In Australia, The Amazing Race has been hugely successful, winning its timeslot each week and in New Zealand, the Season 7 finale on TVNZ (TV2) posted strong ratings with a 48 per cent share in P18-39.

For BVITV-AP, this agreement was negotiated by Joyce Yeung, executive director, and Maria Wong, sales manager. Betty Tsui, SPTI?s acquisitions executive and SPE Networks?Asia?s vice president programming & production, and Pamela Parker, SPTI?s vice president, business affairs and acquisitions, negotiated on behalf of SPTI.

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