MGM set as New Line syndie arm


MGM Studios and New Line Television have formed a strategic relationship that will see MGM handling domestic distribution for broadcast syndication of New Line's motion picture packages and series programming for the next two years.

As part of the deal, MGM also will handle New Line's future barter sales.

David Spiegelman, senior executive vp domestic television distribution and marketing at New Line Television, will continue to oversee the development and production as well as acquisition of syndicated programming for the company. He also will continue to distribute all New Line product to network, pay, basic cable and video-on-demand and pay-per-view outlets.

Under the terms of the new alliance, Spiegelman will work closely with John Bryan, executive vp broadcast strategy at MGM, on syndication sales for New Line TV product.

Asked how the deal came about, MGM Worldwide Television Distribution Group president Jim Packer said he and Spiegelman have known each other for a long time. Packer added that MGM has the staff and infrastructure to "really focus" on domestic syndication sales.

"We're basically going to become their de facto syndication arm," Packer said. "We'll be taking over all the syndication (movie) packages they've sold."

New Line Television president Jim Rosenthal added that the combination of New Line's resources and MGM's reach in local markets will add up to be a successful relationship.

"This relationship allows us the opportunity to create one powerful team to address the syndication marketplace," he said. "David is constantly seeking new programs from nontraditional sources to fuel this area."

The deal kicks off with "Masterminds," the Court TV series that New Line recently debuted in syndication. MGM will assist New Line with second-year station renewals for the half-hour series, which goes inside criminal acts and the police work that brought the perpetrators to justice. Through a previous deal with New Line, Tribune handles barter ad sales on "Masterminds" for its first year in syndication, but MGM will take over those duties starting in Year 2.

The titles in the upcoming movie packages have yet to be determined, but it's believed that such recent and upcoming releases as "Take the Lead," "Snakes on a Plane" and "Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny" could be among them.