NBC UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION, WOLF FILMS, AND NTV ANNOUNCE FORMAT DEALS FOR RUSSIAN VERSIONS OF LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT AND LAW & ORDER: SVU
Venerable Law & Order Brand Continues Global Expansion
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -� May 23, 2006 -- NBC Universal International Television Distribution, Wolf Films, and NTV have announced format deals for Russian production company 2V and Global American Television (GATV) to co-produce localized Russian versions of famed creator/executive producer Dick Wolf's hit series Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: SVU, it was announced today. The agreements mark the second and third international format deals for the Law & Order brand, the most successful in primetime U.S. television history, with NTV committed to an initial 12-episode order for each series. A French version of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, announced in July 2005, is currently in pre-production and slated for a Spring 2007 launch on TF1.
These unprecedented agreements mark the first time in Russian history a U.S. primetime drama series will be remade for a local audience. The Russian versions of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: SVU, both scheduled to premiere in 2006, are currently in pre-production in Moscow and will initially adapt the original U.S. scripts, taking into account language, culture and the local justice system. The series is being produced by 2V and GATV, on behalf of NTV, in association with NBC Universal and Wolf Films. In order to adapt the series for a Russian audience, 2V's Pavel Korchagin and GATV's Ed Wierzbowski will consult with the Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: SVU creative teams, including Dick Wolf, the shows' writers and producers, along with Leslie Jones, vice president of international sales and format production for NBC Universal International Television Distribution.
"The confidence and respect NTV has shown by commissioning these two series is extraordinary, underscoring the power, significance and unique appeal of the Law & Order franchise," said Jones. "We're thrilled to be working with our Russian partners and look forward to recreating the immense success these series have enjoyed in the U.S."
Added Wolf, "Great drama is both universal and timeless, but there is no question its impact is even greater for audiences when adapted to reflect the complexities and nuances of local culture. This new partnership represents a giant step in the globalization of the Law and Order brand."
In addition, First Vice President and Head of Programming for NTV Network Eugeni Kucherenko said, "Whatever differences may exist between Russia and the USA, there is one area where we are united - in our strong intent to fight crime. TV is a very influential medium and this is why we strive to show that evil must not prevail and that law and order will always be on top in the fight. We don't have any doubts that our new series, based on the Law and Order branded formats, will not only entertain, but will serve this noble public cause. We look forward to having these series on the air for many years."
Under the terms of the agreement, NBC Universal will retain exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the new Russian episodes.
NBC Universal International Television Distribution is responsible for the distribution of NBC Universal product to all forms of television and new media outside of the U.S. and Canada. This includes a rich library of more than 4,000 feature films and 55,000 television episodes, as well as current titles, formats, non-scripted titles, sports, news, long-form and short-form programming and locally produced content from around the world. NBCU International Television Distribution provides this wealth of product to both traditional and new media outlets, and is a leader in adopting and maximizing new means of groundbreaking content delivery.
Wolf, among television's most respected drama series creator/producers, is the architect of one of the most successful brands in the history of television � Law & Order. The franchise, from NBC Universal Television Studio and Wolf Films, which includes Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Trial By Jury, recently surpassed 650 episodes. The Law & Order branded series air an average of 45 times a week on the U.S. television networks NBC, TNT and USA Network and has been licensed in more than 180 countries around the world. Last year, the brand generated over one billion dollars in advertising revenue, and has spawned lucrative ancillary revenue from DVDs, books and video games and has become a cultural phenomenon.
NTV Network was founded in 1993 and has a potential audience of approximately 120 million. It airs a variety of programs ranging from entertainment to sports, as well as news. NTV is the only privately held channel that, because of its nationwide coverage, received an official status of "the federal channel." It has an average daily 16 share of the national audience and is one of Russia's top three networks.
2V Studios is one of Russia's oldest and most prestigious television production companies, producing a wide variety of TV programming including dramas, documentaries and game shows. 2V's award-winning programs are seen on all of Russia's top networks, including NTV, Channel 1 and RTR.
Global American Television, a U.S.-based company, is in its 24th year of creating media breakthroughs in Russia, such as the groundbreaking Phil Donahue/Vladimir Pozner Citizen Summits, to placing the first-ever paid ads on then-Soviet television.