Chinese Executive Behind $375M Lionsgate Slate Deal Arrested for Corruption

China Propaganda - Getty - H 2017

Former Hunan TV chairman Long Qiuyun was a producer on 'La La Land' and a dozen more Lionsgate releases under an ongoing financing agreement with the Chinese TV giant.

The former chairman of Chinese television and film powerhouse Hunan TV has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes.

Long Qiuyun, 55, had held the top role at Hunan TV since 1995, and he was instrumental in the $375 million slate-financing deal the company signed with Lionsgate in 2015. Thanks to that agreement, which was executed through Hunan movie subsidiary TIK Films, Long is credited as a producer on at least a dozen Lionsgate releases, including multiple Oscar winner La La Land and last year's Power Rangers.

Long abruptly resigned from his role at Hunan TV in October 2017, sparking rumors that he was under investigation of misconduct of some kind. On Thursday, Chinese business news organization Caixin reported that Long had been taken into custody by Hunan Province authorities over allegations of accepting bribes.

Hunan TV is a state-owned enterprise, and local sources have reported that Long also may have held shares in private companies with which Hunan TV did business, violating a law prohibiting senior executives of state firms from self-dealing. Hunan authorities said the case was "under further investigation" and no additional details were disclosed.

The $375 million deal Lionsgate inked with Hunan was part of a broader agreement between the two companies that entailed the Chinese broadcaster funding roughly 25 percent of Lionsgate’s $1.5 billion slate of film and TV production over the ensuing three years. Long and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer unveiled the agreement side by side at a signing ceremony in Hunan Province's capital city of Changsha in March 2015. The pact is set to run its course around the end of 2018, and sources close to Hunan say discussions of extending the partnership are ongoing and the matter is undecided. It's not clear whether Long's resignation and arrest has affected the talks in any way.

Hunan TV declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.

Industry veteran Chen Gang was named Long's replacement as Hunan TV's  chairman. Chen began as a reporter at Hunan TV in 1995 and rose through the ranks, holding positions such as general manager of the film subsidiary and chief of the company's flagship satellite TV division.