ABC, Granada team up on spy drama

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ABC and U.K.-based Granada Entertainment are working together to develop a
one-hour spy drama that would air in both countries, executives from both
companies said.

Collaboration between foreign and U.S. production companies has been rare in
the past, Granada president Antony Root said, but the
combination should help to reduce the cost of shows.

Shows that air on network prime time tend to be wholly deficit-funded by the
producing studio, which often is owned by the network.

The network then pays a license fee that usually doesn't cover the entire
cost of the show, and the studio hopes to make its money back by increasing
license fees once the show is successful, by selling the show in syndication and
by selling it internationally.

In this case, ABC can make some of its money sooner by selling the U.K. rights
upfront.

"The notion here is that you would have an American broadcaster and a British
broadcaster coming together, thereby reducing the amount of speculation in the
deficit," Root said. "If you add the American license to the British license,
you get that much nearer to the cost of the product."

The show will focus on the activities of a combined U.S.-U.K. spy unit
focused on fighting global terrorism.

With reality exploding on prime-time TV, space for scripted dramas is getting
smaller and smaller.

"But everybody will want to continue to do scripted programming and will
continue to look for ways and models to finance it in ways that don't expose the
companies to too great a risk," Root said.

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