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Warner Bros to set up int’l production divisions

US studio Warner Bros is set to launch a number of international production arms worldwide as it looks to expand the number of local versions of its hit drama and comedy series.

Warner Bros International Television Distribution has hired former Talpa Media chief executive Ronald Goes to head the operation, which will set up production companies in key territories, acquire existing companies and ink partnerships with well known producers.

This is expected to lead to local versions of its hit series including psychological cop drama The Mentalist, teen hit Gossip Girl and its raft of reality series such as The Bachelor and High School Reunion.

Warner Bros has flirted with international production before, having previously had format production divisions in the UK and France. It has already sold the rights to remake its hit detective series Without A Trace to French commercial broadcaster TF1.

This move comes as international production of US series continues to ramp up; NBC Universal has found success with a British version of Law & Order and Disney ABC ESPN Television has found success with local versions of Desperate Housewives, leading to the commission of local versions of Brothers and Sisters.

“It is no secret that local programming is the most popular genre on television around the world. It is our ambition to become a leading producer of scripted and non-scripted programming locally, to complement the top quality finished programming that we distribute internationally,” said Warner Bros International Television president Jeffrey Schlesinger.