IDTV, SMG team for Chinese telenovela

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SHANGHAI -- Amsterdam-based TV production house IDTV and the Shanghai Media Group will co-produce a 220-episode TV series to begin airing in Chinese primetime in the fall, IDTV confirmed late Thursday.

"It's a telenovela, and it's about youth in a Chinese art school," Brenda Matthijs, IDTV communications manager, told The Hollywood Reporter. "It will be broadcast in primetime, five times a week."

SMG broadcasts to China's No. 1 media market, Shanghai, with a population of nearly 17 million. The company is China's second-largest media group, after China Central Television. The Shanghai Media Group did not reply to requests for comment.

Matthijs said that the show is being co-produced by a company in Portugal whose writers are now working with two Chinese writers.

"The series is specially written for the Chinese market," IDTV director Frank de Jonge told the Dutch Broadcast Press magazine, adding that one "cannot simply translate stories from existing series. Situations involving brothers or sisters in China are almost nonexistent because of the many single-child families."

It is the first time that IDTV will produce a TV series for SMG, but not its first time in the Chinese market, Matthijs said.

IDTV produced a documentary about Zhang Ning, a Chinese sportswoman, in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympic Games. Zhang won the gold medal for badminton in the 2004 Olympics.
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