P&G, PARAMOUNT IN EURO TV DEAL;SHOWS DONE WITH BERTELSMANN UNIT MAY REACH U.S.

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Procter & Gamble Co. has teamed with the Paramount Television Group and Bertelsmann's UFA TV division to produce original shows for Europe that, if successful, could be sold to the U.S. market.

The deal, worth an estimated $60 million, calls for the production of high-quality series to be shown initially via Germany.

Paramount is looking for other advertisers that don't compete with P&G to join the deal, said two insiders with knowledge of the plans.

TOP EURO STATION

In Germany, the programs would likely be aired on RTL Television, Europe's most popular TV station and most successful in terms of ad revenue. It's possible P&G/Paramount will look for additional broadcasters to team with in other European countries, one of the insiders said.

The P&G/Paramount/UFA deal is similar to a pact P&G and Paramount have in the U.S. for domestic programming. In that deal, NBC has the right of first refusal for any shows P&G and Paramount develop. No other advertisers have joined in that deal.

VIACOM'S SEPARATE DEAL

The European deal is curious in that Paramount parent Viacom just signed a 10-year pact with Bertelsmann rival Kirsch Group that gives Kirsch the TV rights to a number of past and future Paramount products. And Bertelsmann itself just announced that UFA was merging with Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Telediffusion, better known as CLT, in a deal valued at $3.5 billion.

Bertelsmann and CLT co-own the RTL channel in Germany, and CLT co-owns RTL outlets throughout Europe. So the P&G/Paramount/UFA-produced programs could be distributed on a pan-European basis on RTL.

"It's that kind of media world now," said one media executive. "The relationships are many and complex."

Contributing: Laurel Wentz.

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