Premiere calling on Hollywood heft

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Germany's leading pay TV channel Premiere is looking to break into new territory by producing high-end English-language series with Hollywood studios for its German subscribers.

"We are in concrete talks with one studio and are interested in working with all of them," Premiere program chief Hans Seger said. "The idea is to produce edgy series in Hollywood but, initially at least, for a European, not U.S., audience."

The plan would see Premiere pool resources with two or three other European partners to co-produce original drama series with a studio partner. Premiere would hold exclusive German rights to the series, which would bow in Europe.

Producing exclusively for pay-TV is unheard of in Germany, where even made-for-pay shows such as HBO's "Sex and the City" air on free TV.

"We don't have that culture of producing edgy, film-quality series exclusively for pay TV," Seger said. "And German producers aren't willing to take on some of the risk involved in financing these kind of shows. That's why we are looking to work with Hollywood producers. It gives us the right balance of production quality and acceptable risk."

Premiere became attracted to the idea of co-production after boarding HBO's historic miniseries "Rome" and Fox's Iraq war drama "Over There" as a co-financier.

Seger declined to give specific details concerning projects or to cite a production timeline, saying it's too early in the development process.
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