Twentieth Century Fox Television and British commercial network ITV have reached an agreement to set up a joint development fund to produce original series that could air in either the U.S. or Britain -- or both. The deal appeared to have been masterminded by Lee Bartlett,a former Fox exec who was recently appointed head of global content at ITV. In an interview with the London Financial Times, Bartlett said, ""From this development fund, we could actually create scripted formats that could be produ ced in both countries at the same time. ... There could be differences -- the cast for the British version could be more British than for the American version -- but you could be making two series on top of each other, if I can put it like that. That could get you some pretty good production synergies." Analysts observed that the deal could be especially advantageous for Fox, given the fact that it allows each company to use the other's facilities and hire each other's talent. Production costs are said to be lower in the U.K. than they are in the U.S., and the ability to produce shows employing British writing and acting talent would give Fox considerable leverage when it comes time to renew existing labor pacts.
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