Hearst Entertainment is exiting the first-run-syndication and TV-movie
businesses to focus on production of reality series, president Bruce Paisner
"After many years, we are reluctantly exiting the TV-movie business," Paisner
said. "Although in the past, this has been a good business for us to be in,
current order patterns and reduced license fees have made this a much less
desirable business than it used to be."
Hearst will stay in the reality-TV business, producing such series for cable
as Modern Marvels for The History Channel, Makeover Mamas and
Biography for A&E Network, Intimate Portraits for Lifetime
Television and Superhero Science for Discovery Channel.
Hearst is also interested in producing reality shows for the broadcast
networks, although it is currently not doing so.
As Hearst makes the switch, Tribune Entertainment will take over distribution
of Hearst's TV-movie library, 1,000 hours of live-action series and its four weekly first-run syndicated
series: B. Smith with Style, Famous Homes & Hideaways, Ron
Hazelton's HouseCalls and Pet Keeping with Marc Morrone.
Lakeshore Entertainment Group will take over distribution of these properties
in the international marketplace, Paisner said.
"We chose Tribune for U.S. distribution because its reach through its owned
TV stations and cable outlets is unmatched in this country," he added.
"Lakeshore was chosen for international distribution because of its growing
library of first-class theatrical movies, which are quite complementary to
Hearst's TV-movie products."
Tribune handles all barter sales for Hearst, as well as management of
Hearst's administrative and back-end operations.
"This deal gives us a library that is a real asset to any distributor,"
Tribune president and CEO Dick Askin said. "A library is something that provides
continuing cash flow beyond new production to any organization."
Askin also pointed out that all four of Hearst's series remain profitable,
even if they weren't enough to sustain an entire production and distribution