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Fremantle in Deal With Jackie Collins

Feb 12, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Continuing its movement into scripted programming, FremantleMedia North America has signed glamour-Jackie Collins to a one-year deal to develop new projects.

The agreement will give access to some of Ms. Collins’ existing and upcoming titles, as well as rights to any new ideas for future televised efforts.

is best known in the U.S. for importing reality formats such as “American Idol,” but the company has recently expanded its Stateside efforts to cover scripted content.

Early projects have included a couple of traditional sitcom pilots. But for Ms. Collins’ projects, plans to take two saleable elements from reality programming-shows that are low-cost and are closed-ended-and apply them to the scripted romance genre.

“We’re not going after Jerry Bruckheimer,” said Eugene Young, Fremantle’s chief creative officer. “When it comes to Jackie, we can produce a powerful product at a price that’s affordable and attractive to networks and syndicators.”

As an example, Mr. Young pointed to the company’s Lifetime limited telenovela series “Monarch Cove,” whose 13-episode run debuted in November. Ms. Collins’ “Idol”-sounding 1997 book, “American Star,” about teenage lovers who separate and find fame in Hollywood and New York, is considered a prime candidate for the first project.

Mr. Young joined last year after running programming and development at Endemol. He oversees all of the company’s U.S. reality, scripted and new media efforts. Though daytime soaps and MyNetworkTV telenovelas have recently struggled, Mr. Young said scripted romance still works when properly executed. The company plans to do more projects like “Monarch,” especially now that it has teamed up with the Collins brand.

“MyNet force-fed too much telenovela on their viewers,” he said. “When you look at reality, audiences are pre-conditioned to an ending. We’re looking to do an intense burst of romance and intrigue … with a clear end game.”

As for its other scripted efforts, recently announced a pilot deal with Fox for the half-hour comedy “The Beast” and a comedy pilot presentation for FX called “Man Stroke Woman.”

Ms. Collins’ 25th book, “Drop Dead Beautiful: The Continuing Adventures of Lucky Santangelo,” will be published in July.

FremantleMedia North America is a division of FremantleMedia, one of the largest producers of television content in the world. Previously the company was called the Pearson Group, which acquired All-American in 1997, then was rebranded as FremantleMedia in 2001.