FIRST OFF . . .
Chinese TV audiences are lapping up the likes of the TV series “Hunter” and the TV movie “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” as the result of an expanded agreement between Lorimar Telepictures Corp. and China’s Shanghai Televison Network (STV) that gives Lorimar exclusive rights to provide all non-Chinese programming to STV in four Chinese provinces. “We are basically operating under a barter system,” said Lorimar spokesman Michael Jay Solomon. “We are giving Shanghai Television the programming free of charge in exchange for the right to sell commercial time to American advertisers trying to reach the Chinese audience.” STV executives made their first foray to Los Angeles last week to screen and select programming for their expanded offerings. Through an interpreter, STV deputy director Cheng Wen Bing said the network plans to acquire episodes of “Our House,” “Knots Landing,” “Falcon Crest” and “ALF.” The STV executive added that a rating system in Shanghai indicates that 50% to 75% of the viewing audience is watching the twice-weekly episodes of “Hunter.” The program is far ahead of 100 other program choices airing on four channels, Chu said. Commercials airing on the programs: Marlboro cigarettes, Colgate-Palmolive products and Rado watches. The agreement, which expands on an original five-year contract signed in December 1986, makes Lorimar the only distributor of non-Chinese programming to STV and gives it exclusive rights to provide programming in three provinces beyond Shanghai.