CMJ preps global development

Canada's CMJ Productions II has launched a new division that will work with broadcasters around the world to develop programming, hiring a former CableReady exec to head it up.

Lou Occhicone has been named president and chief operating officer at the new CMJ Concepts division. He was most recently senior VP of operations at producer-distributor CableReady, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July.

Occhicone will be tasked with finding like-minded broadcasters in countries including the US, Australia, the UK and Latin America to develop factual programming that is fully-financed. Each programme will be customised for its local region to fit audience profiles.

“I’m meeting with various networks to find out what they’re looking for. We’re looking across all genres, travel is interesting and crime, as well as lifestyle,” Occhicone told C21.

“Having been in independent distribution for several years, I’ve enjoyed the balance needed to tout the inventiveness of producers while looking to fill the needs of buyers and network programmers.”

CMJ Productions II founder and CEO John Kuyk said: “I have had great respect for Lou and the way he has conducted business during the many years I have known and worked with him. He always gave my productions the kind of attention and nurturing that a producer could appreciate.”

The new division will also distribute shows that are not handled under the parent company’s long-term existing distribution agreements. It has already acquired three new series for distribution which were developed and produced by CMJ Productions II, and will premiere on Quebec’s Évasion channel.

Bad Trip (13x60) explores holidays that go wrong, Boogeymen (13x60) investigates towns that have become famous for monsters and Home Made (13x60?) takes viewers to some of the world’s most unusual structures and investigates how they came to be built.

Richard Middleton

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