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Larry Gershman, king of MOWs & WIN.

Early this month, WIN had its fourth birthday. It's now a worldwide network of 21 television and video entities representing 136 markets. WIN has funded and been involved with 34 programs, mostly MOWs, representing 87 hours of programming.

Founding chairman Larry Gershman has seen his vision come true. Owned by Broad Street Films, Ltd. Lucana B.V., Larry Gershman Entertainment and Ness Entertainment, the company has only 24 on staff but does the work of a large corporation.

"When we're thinking about doing a picture, I contact our members and discuss with them the programs I want to acquire or the co-prodcutions I'd like to set up or they contact me with projects they want to bring to me," Gershman said.

"We're now working with RAI on The Tuscan Cigar, which originated with an Italian story. We're now having the script written on the American side, then putting it together with the Italians. Very often when projects come to us, they are already in script phase or already committed to a network. Sometimes we help make a U.S. sale.

"There are certain genres of programming we're not particularly interested in. We stay away from comedy, and I don't like menacing types of films; exploitation films."

When it comes to MOW budgets, WIN has the capability of spending more than traditional productions. "For a two-hour movie, the norm is between $2 million and $3 million; but ours tends to be between 3.2 and 4.2. Yet on miniseries, we've gone as high as $16 million, where there's no norm."

WIN's currently shooting a MOW in San Diego. "It's a Loni Anderson picture about a woman who was raped and had a child; the father comes back and wants a relationship. I will start taking it out to the other guys now. We're just signing a contract.

"We just finished principal photography of In the Line of Duty: Standoff in Marion. The company also just completed principal photography on Till Murder Do Us Part (the Betty Broderick story).

"We start shooting In the Line of Duty: The Two Tonys in two weeks. We don't do production; that makes it easy. If we were a production company, we'd be limited to three or four movies a year. By working with various producers (we will get five pictures out of Pachett-Kaufman, two or three from Stu Samuels, two or three from Preston Fisher), we've been delivering 18 pics a year."

It seems the future of WIN is the co-production field. Gershman said, "That was the plan. The first was to establish the bonafides and the concept. That's been done. Now we're more into the co-productions: Drug Wars, Made in LA; the new shows, Tuscan Cigar, and others.

"I would guess that 25 to 33 per cent this coming year will be co-productions. The people always say Europeans have been buying American product for a long time. They say why won't Americans buy it back. It's hard but I believe we have some ways of doing it.

"If you're going to take a production that is specifically of one nationality, it's very unlikely that that program will be sold here, unless it has some feeling of the American market for pacing, for subject matter.

"For example, Europeans love historical dramas. They tend to deal with costume pieces and enormous budgets and enormous quality with a pacing level and elements to the story that really don't appeal to Americans. That doesn't make them wrong. It's just a different flavor, a different feel."
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Title Annotation:founding chairman discusses WIN's movie of the week projects
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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