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TV made Saban rich, selling falafels makes him secure.

"Diversification is the name of the game," said Haim Saban, president of Saban Entertainment. "We do mini series, movies of the week, animation, prime time series, and international distribution. But, whatever our activity is, it's always been extremely diversified. This stems from the company's managerial belief that we will be able to weather any storm."

Although the company predominantly was launched in Los Angeles in 1980, in 1973, Saban started a music promotion company, Saban/Talit Productions in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 1975, Saban Records was successfully launched in France. Today, Saban Entertainment's subsidiaries are controlled by Saban himself, who owns 75 per cent of the company. Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Tellefusion (CLT) has a 25 per cent interest.

When asked to compare the two music and TV industries, Saban replied, "It really operates by the same principle-finding the right vehicle and getting it exposed to the public. The public will let you know if it's right. I believe that the up' side of TV is a lot higher than the music business.

"Outside of my real estate agent who sold me my first house in Los Angeles, I did not have any business relationships. It's a matter of you hang in there, you knock on doors, they throw you from the door, you come back, and go to the other door.' Eventually, you make a dent and develop contacts. It was not easy at the beginning. But, you've got to realize that I did not come here with a thousand dollars in my pocket. I had a successful business in France, which was a base on which to build."

Although his French company supplied music for such American shows as Dallas and Starsky and Hutch overseas, Saban doesn't consider the music liaison a strong tie. "Those contacts were really created by the [U.S] representatives in France. We were not dealing with the principles here. Although we made music for Dallas, we didn't know [the producers] Lee Rich, Merv Adelson or David Jacobs."

Recently, Saban got involved in the children's book publishing industry. "We will have six books about our TV programs."

In addition, Saban plans to introduce between eight and ten movies and three or four new animated series this year: Saban's Around the World in 80 Dreams (26 episodes) is a co-production between Berlusconi, Korea's MPC, TFI, Canal Plus, and Saban International Paris; Gulliver's Travels; Three Little Ghosts ... Afraid of the Dark, a co-production with Nipon TV and new episodes of Camp Candy. Also being introduced is Warriors on Wheels, a one-hour live action program which Viacom is distributing domestically. New movies include: Roundtrip to Heaven, with Corey Feldman and Ray Sharkey; The Passion For Murder with Michael Nouri, Joanna Pacula and Michael Ironside; and Black Death, with Kate Jackson.

According to Saban, "There are a couple of areas where we are now developing financial as well as creative concepts."

In his latest development, Saban has put together a teen soap opera, slated to debut in the fall of '93, which is a co-production between Canada, Mexico, and one European country. "I think that a soap opera for teens with subject matters they can relate to can work really well-both domestically and internationally.

"I have so much on my mind," Saban confided. "I don't know where I get my ideas. It's like sitting a guy down at the piano, and asking him, 'how can you compose such beautiful melodies?' He doesn't know: He just sits at the piano and the melodies come. As long as these ideas keep coming, I believe we're going to keep on thriving. And then I'll dry up."

Saban is hush-hush about his next project: "We are going to get involved in a broadcasting outlet in Europe. But I can't tell you the details.

"Every Jew who can afford it should have a home in Israel. I have a home in Tel Aviv. I also havea falafel stand that's my Jewish nervousness and my Jewish security. So, when the world falls apart and Jerusalem stands proud, I'll be right there selling falafels with my two-bedroom apartment."

But, Saban added, "I feel very much at home here. I love America; what's not to love?"
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Title Annotation:Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment
Author:Facter, Sue
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Biography
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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