Shandong and Metan are 'Golden'

120-episode series will be shot in China, U.S.

BEIJING -- A TV drama series following Chinese immigrant families from Gold Rush-era California into the present day christens a partnership between Shandong Film and TV Group and the Sino-U.S. startup Metan Development Group.

With a budget of $25 million, "Golden Mountain" is planned as 120 one-hour episodes set to shoot in China and the U.S. and broadcast in China over three years starting in 2011, Los Angeles and Beijing-based Metan said Tuesday.

Metan was founded in February by U.S. TV industry vets Martin Pompadur and Larry Namer with their Chinese partner Jean Zhang of the San Francisco-based China business consultancy AmeriLink.

The "Golden Mountain" story will be shaped by writer Zhao Dongjing. Zhao was winner of China's Golden Rooster award in 2004 for best screenplay for "The Story of Xiao Yan," and is a seven-time recipient of the Five-One award named for the May 1 Workers Holiday and issued by the publicity department of the Communist party for promoting correct ideology.

Metan said "Golden Mountain" is the first step in a partnership in which it hopes to help Shandong boost its programs' global appeal.

Jin Liang, VP of Shandong Film & TV, said he was pleased to work with Metan on the story of Chinese immigrants' role in the completion of California's Central Pacific Railway.

"We believe Metan's comprehensive network and contacts in North America and Europe will help to maximize the value of the project, as well as to deliver Chinese culture to television audiences all over the world," Jin said.

As part of their agreement with Shandong, which is south-southeast of Beijing, Metan will represent Shandong's interests in co-productions with Western companies for international films shot in China and co-productions of Western television formats in China.

Metan also will represent Shandong's programs to Western brands for advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

As part of the agreement, Shandong TV channels, which reach about 97 million viewers, will carry Metan's original programming, Metan said.

In May, Metan announced it would co-produce show business news programming with content from The Hollywood Reporter.

Namer said the Shandong deal represents Metan's first major deal with one of China's major provincial TV and film groups, one which has "brand new production facilities comparable to anything we have in the U.S."

"Working with them, we can license any TV show format from anywhere and reshoot it in China with Chinese casts in Mandarin language," Namer said.

Wang Hanping, VP of the Shandong branch of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television and President of Shandong Film & TV, said Metan would "help to make our productions more relevant to international markets."

As the Western co-producer, Metan will handle the U.S. side of the "Golden Mountain" production and its sponsorship sales.

The series will debut in early 2011 in primetime on China Central Television Channel 1 and rebroadcast on CCTV-8, reaching the entire country, Metan said. CCTV could not be reached to verify the claim.
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