RHI int'l deals action-packed


RHI Entertainment's bet on action flicks is paying off as its new slate of testosterone-driven telefilms has netted volume deals in such key international markets as the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Russia. The company is expected to announce the sales at MIPCOM.

At the beginning of the year, RHI — known for softer, more female-oriented fare in the longform arena — changed course with a male-skewing line of two-hour movies that encompasses the action, thriller and horror genres. The company committed to producing 25 such titles a year.

Among the 18 completed so far this year include "Maneater," a thriller starring Gary Busey as a legendary hunter trying to catch a man-eating tiger; the Kevin Sorbo-starring "Something Beneath," about a group of scientists racing to stop an intelligent and deadly cellular organism; and horror thriller "Eye of the Beast," starring James Van Der Beek.

RHI's licensing deals include:

A pact with U.K.'s Sky for the TV rights to this year and next year's crop of action movies, a total of 50 titles, to air on Sky One and Sky Two. The movies have been running successfully there for the past two months.

A deal with France's M6, which also purchased the rights to 50 titles.

A deal with Russia's TV3 for more than 30 new titles.

A pact with Germany's Telemunchen for TV and video rights to 40 titles.

A deal with Spain's Quatro Channel. Quatro originally acquired free-TV rights for 25 titles, but after the first several movies did very well, it recently signed up for another 25 movies.

RHI also has inked deals for its action movie line with Portugal's TVI, Poland's TVP, Hungary's TV2, Slovakia's Markiza, Croatia's Novi Mediji, Mexico's TV Azteca and Canada's TQS. Talks are under way with outlets in Asia and the Far East.

"The success of our program library in the European marketplace is a testament to the global appeal to viewers of the action genre," said Joel Denton, president of production and distribution at RHI Entertainment.

In the U.S., RHI's action titles premiere on VOD through Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision and Cox. The movies then will run on such cable networks as Spike TV, Sci Fi Channel and Lifetime Television.