'Apprentice China' eyed


Mark Burnett will ramp up business in Asia, with "The Apprentice China" among the likely new series.

In Singapore for the premiere of the first series of "The Contender Asia" on Sony Pictures Entertainment's AXN channel, the president and founder of Mark Burnett Prods. said Asia offers "endless choices" for content development.

"It's a matter of choosing the right projects," he said.

The 15-episode "Contender Asia" was produced by local media company Imagine OmniMedia, in association with Mark Burnett Prods.

Jerry Schafer produced the series, which has so far been sold to monopoly free-TV broadcaster MediaCorp for its English-language Channel 5, and to Fox8 in Australia.

Burnett said "The Apprentice China" is in the pipeline, but no date had been set. He denied delays or problems with the production.

"It's easy to work in Asia; you just have to follow the rules," he said.

"The Apprentice" was licensed to a Chinese partner in September 2006 but has yet to make it to air in that nation (HR 1/13/07).

Burnett declined to discuss details of his $20 million venture, Mark Burnett Prods. Asia, with Asian gaming and entertainment outfit Genting. The deal to develop reality content and game shows for Asia, fostered by the Singapore government, was announced in October.