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Viacom in Bekmambetov TV tie-up

Russian director Timur Bekmambetov is teaming up with Viacom to create his first television project.

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), the global arm of US media giant Viacom, and Russia’s Bazalevs are coproducing shortform animated comedy Chromosapiens (working title, 12×2′) for Russia’s Paramount Comedy channel.

The series is Bekmambetov’s first TV project. The producer and director is best known for feature films such as Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter, Wanted and Russian comedy franchise Yolki.

Plot details were not forthcoming but the project will make use of FilmLanguage, a proprietary technology that allows online users to create their own cartoons featuring characters from the show by converting natural-language text into the animation. The software, which Bazalevs developed, will run on Paramount Comedy’s website across the country.

Paramount Comedy last month boosted its distribution in Russia to four million homes through agreements with National Cable Network (NCN) and Rostelcom. This came after it launched as an extension to the existing Comedy Central Russia channel.

A fully localised and ad-supported Paramount network goes out daily to audiences in Moscow and St Petersburg and across the rest of Russia through local IPTV providers Onlime and Tvoe TV, plus social TV packages and the TKT analogue platform via NCN’s networks.

The channel has also expanded carriage in Kazakhstan, where it will go out through IPTV service iD-TV. Last month, it also secured more than 300 hours of programming from Warner Bros International Television Distribution.

VIMN has 18 channels in more than 40 territories outside of the US.

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