|by:||Mar 5, 2001|
The buzz on the floor of the RealScreen Summit, held Feb. 12-14 in Washington D.C., was that Alliance Atlantis Communications and Granada (U.K.) are the two front-runners to buy Washington-based Devillier Donegan Enterprises. The doc producer/distributor confirms it's in the market for a new partnership.
Andy Thomson, AAC's executive VP of television production and head of AAC Fact, says he hasn't heard anything about AAC's interest in DDE, but adds he wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.
Disney has been DDE's primary investor since 1996, a side effect of Disney's merger with U.S. network ABC that year; ABC had originally bought a majority stake in DDE in 1994. Says Devillier: "Disney has been a great partner, [but] I think Disney is not committed to developing documentaries as a strand of their editorial life. They are basically in the movie industry. So, we are looking for another partner."
DDE president and CEO Ron Devillier says that regardless of the entity the company partners with, it will not change in essence. "We [Devillier and Brian Donegan] would be involved in a transition of the ownership, with us retaining control of the company."
Outlining DDE's mandate, he adds, "Our production commitments are to stick with our blue-chip agenda. We're only interested in high-end productions, [but] we're interested in all of the categories of non-fiction, which include natural history, science, adventure, expeditions and straight history. And now we have a particular interest in some very good untold stories from ancient history." *
An expanded version of this story can be found in the March 2001 issue of RealScreen magazine.