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MGM Takes TV Sales In-House

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is restructuring its worldwide TV-distribution group, taking sales of its 4,000-title movie library and 10,000 hours of television in-house.

Rick Sands, the studio's chief operating officer, explained that part of the sales function had been in the hands of Sony Pictures Television. MGM has maintained only a token sales force. "We decided that the best way to maximize our intellectual-property rights is to do it yourself," he added.

Jim Packer, a veteran of Disney's Buena Vista domestic-television-distribution unit, was named president of the restructured distribution group, responsible for U.S. barter sales and syndication, as well as emerging platform sales. Joe Patrick will be executive vice president for North America. Atlanta-based Mary Ann Pasante is now senior VP of Latin America sales.

The unit will handle TV licensing of upcoming James Bond feature Casino Royale,as well as the worldwide sales campaigns for Legally Blonde 3, Into the Blue 2, WarGames 2 and Species 4.Television properties include Stargate SG-1 and The L Word,currently airing on Showtime.