2 TV, Movie Libraries Combine for Joint Venture in Syndication

Times Staff Writer

Two movie and television libraries--with titles ranging from "Hamlet" and other major British dramas and comedies to "The Lone Ranger" and "Lassie" TV series--have been wedded for a joint venture in television syndication throughout the United States and Canada, the owners announced Monday.

The partners are New Century Entertainment Corp. and Palladium Entertainment.

In addition to hundreds of titles from their collections, the two firms will contribute future products to the new entity, PNC Television, to be headed by Bernard Tabakin, who is vice chairman of New Century. Nathaniel T. Kwit Jr., president of Palladium, will be responsible for PNC's daily operation from headquarters in New York.

"The TV feature market is definitely opening up," Tabakin said, noting that the combination of libraries "will give us a lot more firepower." Assets of the combined libraries are valued by the parties at more than $50 million.

New Century's library includes distribution rights to 230 British feature films produced by EMI and the Rank Organization, including "Blithe Spirit," "Great Expectations," "The Third Man," "Kind Hearts and Coronets," "In Which We Serve," "Brief Encounter," "The Red Shoes" and Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet."

New Century also is contributing 16 films, including "Agatha" and "Grey Fox."

Palladium will contribute nearly 1,000 episodes of the "Lassie," "Lone Ranger" and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" TV series and full-length movies acquired from Wrather Corp. It also is contributing 53 feature films and its entire British production library.

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