CBS, Ten go to 11 in Australia

Second international JV for CBS this month

SYDNEY -- Network Ten will launch its third digital terrestrial channel next year, with the schedule skewed to U.S. content to be supplied through a joint venture with CBS Studios International, the partners said Thursday.

The general entertainment channel, to be named 11, will be "be unequaled in the Australian free-to-air market in presenting an exciting lineup of demographically targeted international content," Ten CEO Grant Blackley said.
 
11 will now be the free-to-air home of "The Simpsons" here, with other programs to include first-run episodes of "Futurama," "The Cleveland Show," "Supernatural," "Stargate," "Dexter," "Smallville," "The Office," "Nurse Jackie," and "90210."

In addition, Ten's long-running serial drama "Neighbors" will move from Ten to 11, underscoring the channel's target median age of 21.

Programming to 11 will be supplied by a new joint venture company, Elevenco, which will be owned two-thirds by Network Ten and one-third by CBS Studios Inc.

It's the first time that a U.S. studio has taken equity in a venture with an Australian free-to-air broadcaster. Most studios, including CBS, have equity in several local pay TV channels here.

The move is also CBS' second international joint venture announced in just over a week. Last week, CBS teamed up with India's Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd. to form BIG CBS Networks Private Ltd. there.

"This new venture is an extension of our international strategy to match CBS' globally popular content with best-in-class partners -- for both establishing new ventures, as well as licensing our shows," CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez said.

"The joint venture will ensure long-term continuity of this prolific U.S. content pipeline, underpinning the sustainability of 11 and also delivering continued supply of high-quality international programming for Ten," Blackley said.

"11 will deliver a distinct destination for Australian consumers and advertisers. The channel's 'distinctly youthful' focus will be well suited to fostering a strong level of online community and social media engagement, and the format will provide opportunities for a high level of sponsor integration -- such as segment and program hostings -- delivered in ways that will resonate with 11's audience," he said.

The proposed joint venture is subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Under the new arrangement, more than 70,000 hours of CBS library programming will also be made available to 11, including shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Sex and the City," "JAG" and "Frasier."

At the same time, Ten and CBS are expanding their existing long-term output deal. That will continue to give Ten access to shows like "NCIS," "The Good Wife" and the upcoming "Hawaii Five-0."
 
The addition of the younger-skewing 11 to Ten's suite of digital channels means the main channel Ten will now have a broader audience focus with its median age lifting from 37 to 39. The company will make an announcement about key programming changes to service this audience later Thursday.
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