SBS Broadcasting sees success with first original drama series

CANNES: Capitalising on its successful productions of local formats, SBS Broadcasting has branched out into original scripted drama development. The pan-European broadcaster's first original dramatic series For Better or Worse runs Monday through Friday 7 pm time slot on host network TV2 Hungary.

Today, more than a year since its debut, For Better or Worse continues to average 1.35 million viewers for a 14.4 rating/28 share among total viewers nationwide, the company claims in an official release.

Initially conceived in November 2004 by Interaktiv, the SBS-owned production company, For Better or Worse (Joban Rosszban in Hungarian) is a hospital drama series set in the small town of Csillagkut, near the capital city of Budapest. The hospital, Csillagvirag Clinic, is privately owned by Peter Pongracz (the series' protagonist) and his sister Reka, both practicing doctors. Focusing on the everyday lives of the town's three most influential families - the Pongracz, Nemes and Varnagy families - the series explores human relationships as well as medical issues.

The multi-layered storylines, crafted by the writing team of the scripted division of Interaktiv, involve elements of romance, jealousy, adolescence, comedy, and drama.

TV2 head of programming Lóránd Poich says: "We are very pleased with the audiences' response to For Better or Worse. Airing the program as a half-hour daily strip for over a year, we are encouraged by its ability to deliver consistently across all target demographic groups, proving to us that locally produced programming resonates with the viewer and really does provide an advantage to our station."

Added SBS Broadcasting VP production Daniela Matei, "This series has been an interesting exploration of developing original scripted drama series for our stations. As you know, our corporate mandate is always to deliver the best programming possible in the most cost effective and efficient manner. And based on the continuing success of this series and the affordability of the production, we are now looking at the possibility of adapting the local Hungarian scripts for other markets."

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