Australia's Seven inks new NBC Uni deal

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SYDNEY -- Australia's Seven Network signed a new multiyear licensing deal Wednesday with NBC Universal International Television Distribution, extending the partnership the companies have had for 50 years.

The new deal -- announced by Belinda Menendez, president of NBC Universal International Television Distribution, and David Leckie, CEO of Seven Media Group and Seven Network -- covers free-to-air Australian TV rights to current, library and upcoming feature films and TV programming.

Under the deal, Seven, the ratings leader in this market, will continue to air "Heroes," "Bionic Woman," "30 Rock" and "Las Vegas" and will add "Lipstick Jungle" to its schedule next year.

The deal also includes reality and news programming including "Dateline International" and "The Today Show," while Seven said movies including "American Gangster," "Atonement," "The Bourne Ultimatum, "Evan Almighty" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" as well as the upcoming "Charlie Wilson's War," "Wanted," "Mamma Mia" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," will provide a boost to its schedules.

The new deal secures more programming for the network as it launches a new high-definition channel this month and prepares to launch a third digital channel in early 2009.

"We couldn't be happier to have concluded this deal with the Seven Network," Menendez said. "Australia is a key market for our business, and the Seven team has done a tremendous job of making our programming successful in the territory."

Seven's Leckie said: "This is a great deal for Seven. We soon move into a new television season with confirmation of long-term access to programming and a new agreement with NBC Universal that builds on the deep and long-term partnership between our two companies."
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