KCET, the Hollywood-based public TV station that broke with PBS at the end of last year, has signed a programming deal worth up to $50 million over the next five years, the station has announced.
According to the announcement, the deal, with Eyetronics Media and Studios, "will launch five new series this year for domestic and international distribution that showcase SoCal’s history, culture and pizzazz as well as its economic relevance to the global marketplace."
According to a statement that Eyetronics CEO Dominique Bigle provided to TVWeek, "The overall concept is to promote art, entertainment and popular culture formatted in a combination of Bravo meets Vanity Fair meets Arte, which fits into KCET’s [slogan] ‘Rethink TV.’ "
Bigle added that "the first five series are slated as non-fiction, though subject to change as we delve deeper into the development process."
Said the announcement, "The venture is to be funded by Eyetronics Media and Studios, which intends to provide up to $50 million in necessary financing to cover original productions, acquisitions and distribution during the initial partnership term of five years. KCET will produce and broadcast these series. Eyetronics will package and distribute the content domestically and internationally across all media platforms. KCET has public television distribution rights domestically and in Canada."
The announcement adds, "The new shows will celebrate the vibrancy of Southern California’s people, places, and culture, as well as its history. The initial slate includes programs that explore everything from the glitz of Hollywood entertainment and multi-cultural eateries to groundbreaking academic research and technological innovation. The new venture’s programs will also utilize assets in Eyetronics’ ‘Classic Cool Library,’ which includes more than 3,000 classic titles, rare footage, newsreels, cartoons, serials, documentaries, TV movies and series."
KCET’s president and CEO is Al Jerome, a longtime, well-known TV executive. He’s been at KCET since 1996, and at one point in his career was president of the NBC television station group. Jerome said of the Eyetronics deal in a statement, "Southern California is a special market, and it is our home. Over the years, we have spoken to generations of Angelenos with our programming. We are eager to collaborate with Dominique and leverage his savvy for international distribution to deliver more exceptional shows and original documentaries with local/global appeal."