Reality TV Snags 17 New Programs

Oct 4, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Fledgling cable and satellite channel Reality TV has signed a pair of licensing deals resulting in 17 new programs.

Reality TV owner Zone Vision Enterprises has made agreements with Minotaur Productions for 10 series and specials and Australia’s Beyond Distribution for seven projects. The deals will be announced this week at MIPCOM in Cannes, France.

“We’re getting first-run programming that’s never been seen on any other network in the States,” said Chris Sharp, chief programming officer and general manager of Reality TV. “We’re giving viewers something they can’t get on any other channel.”

The shows run the reality television gamut from behind-the-scenes documentary-style shows “Baby ER,” “Drama School,” “The Zoo” and “Honolulu PD” to special-interest shows such as “Choppers 2” and “Bushfire.” Other titles include “Jane Goldman Investigates,” “Sixth Sense With Colin Fry,” “Medics of the Glen,” “Kids’ Hospital” and “Girls Behaving Badly,” which was originally produced by Oxygen, was licensed to Beyond Distribution and has now come full circle back to another U.S. cable channel.

Reality TV is the U.S. version of a channel that launched in Europe five years ago. The European version has since gained distribution in 125 territories and is broadcast in 18 languages. The new shows will appear on all of Reality TV’s channels. EchoStar’s DISH Network satellite service began airing the stateside version last year. The U.S. version features “Rescue 911,” “America’s Most Wanted” and other programs.

The network has been competing with Reality 24-7 (formerly Reality Central) for distribution on U.S. cable systems. In July, Fox announced plans to debut the Fox Reality Channel, which further crowds the marketplace. Both competitors are aiming for a first-quarter 2005 launch.

Mr. Sharp said that, given Reality TV’s success in foreign markets and its on-air status, it’s hard to compare it with the competition.

“It’s kind of difficult to talk about something that doesn’t really exist,” he said. “Reality 24-7, maybe they have some deals, but it’s nothing to really compare us to.”

Reality TV has further sought to distinguish itself from U.S. competitors by defining reality as hidden-camera and documentary-style shows rather than competition-based shows, a strategy Mr. Sharp said the network will continue.

As for the future, Mr. Sharp said, “Our focus moving forward is to aggressively pursue more deals like these.”