According to a story in the New York Post, Cablevision and Dodger Endemol Theatricals are in serious merger negotiations, in the hopes of creating a producing organization on Broadway. Neither company would confirm the discussions, though Radio City Entertainment (a division of Cablevision), is already an associate producer on the Broadway musical Footloose.
As noted by Post journalist Michael Riedel, such a merger would give Cablevision a content provider, while Dodger Endemol would have an infusion of cash to work with. (Spokespersons for Cablevision and Dodger Endemol could not be reached by PBOL at press time.)
Formed in 1978 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Dodgers Productions team is made up of Michael David, Doug Johnson, Des McAnuff, Rocco Landesman, Edward Strong and Sherman Warner. In 1997, the Dodgers entered into a merger with Endemol Theatrical Productions (a division of Endemol Entertainment), founded by Joop van den Ende and Robin de Levita. With a background in producing for television, the pair went on to produce such stage shows in Europe as Tommy and West Side Story on London's West End, and Evita, Barnum, Sweet Charity and The Phantom of the Opera in Holland. Their big Dutch hit, Cyrano, did not fare well on Broadway, but as part of Dodger Endemol Theatricals they've also had money in the Tony-winning Titanic and the acclaimed Ralph Fiennes Hamlet. For its part, Cablevision's Radio City Entertainment took over the second version of The Scarlet Pimpernel and is now producing the scaled-back third version of the show, currently at the Neil Simon Theatre.
A production-distribution situation similar to the above scenario was hoped for by SFX when it took over Livent; the former already owned venues in which Livent productions could play. The reality has not yet lived up to the on-paper promise, however. Livent's biggest hits need to be scaled down to prove financially viable, and new musicals take a long time to germinate and hold no guarantee of success, either in New York or on the road.
-- By David Lefkowitz