This material belongs to: Variety.
Reports of Long’s arrest emerged in Chinese media on Thursday. He is suspected of accepting bribes.
Long had been chairman of Hunan TV, but abruptly resigned in October. He cited work-related issues. It is understood that he has been watched and questioned since then.
As chairman in 2015, Long was instrumental in the deal between the enterprising regional media group and Lionsgate that runs until the end of 2018. The deal, signed in Changsha, provides Lionsgate with some $375 million of slate funding and covers distribution of Lionsgate films through Hunan subsidiary TIK Films, as well as other initiatives such as co-development and training.
There is no current suggestion that the Lionsgate relationship is the Chinese authorities’ object of interest. However, as Hunan TV chairman, Long is credited as executive producer on several Lionsgate movies, including “La La Land,” “Deepwater Horizon” and “Power Rangers.”
Since Xi Jinping became the president of China in 2012, several other big names in the Hunan media group have been removed from office. Some have been arrested or sent to jail. They include Luo Yi, former deputy director of Hunan Broadcasting System, in 2016. Luo was said to have been a keen supporter of former China president Jiang Zemin and produced a series of stories favoring the Jiang. Changsha is also the stronghold of Mao Zedong, modern China’s revolutionary founder and first leader.
Chinese Executive Behind $375M Lionsgate Slate Deal Arrested for Corruption
This material belongs to: The Hollywood Reporter.
Former Hunan TV chairman Long Qiuyun was a producer on ‘La La Land’ and a dozen more Lionsgate releases under an ongoing financing agreement with the Chinese TV giant.
The former chairman of Chinese television and film powerhouse Hunan TV has been arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes.
Long Qiuyun, 55, had held the top role at Hunan TV since 1995, and he was instrumental in the $375 million slate financing deal the company signed with Lionsgate in 2015. Thanks to that agreement, which was executed through Hunan’s movie subsidiary TIK Films, Long is credited as a producer on at least a dozen Lionsgate releases, including multi-Oscar winner La La Land and last year’s Power Rangers.
Long abruptly resigned from his role at Hunan TV in October 2017, sparking rumors that he was under investigation of misconduct of some kind. On Thursday, Chinese business news organization Caixin reported that Long had been taken into custody by Hunan Province authorities over allegations of accepting bribes.
Hunan TV is a state-owned enterprise, and local sources have reported that Long also may have held shares in private companies with which Hunan TV did business, violating a law prohibiting senior executives from state firms from self-dealing. Hunan authorities said the case was “under further investigation” and no additional details were disclosed.
The $375 million deal Lionsgate inked with Hunan was part of a broader agreement between the two companies that entailed the Chinese broadcaster funding roughly 25 percent of Lionsgate’s $1.5 billion slate of film and TV production over the ensuing three years. Long and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer unveiled the agreement side by side at a signing ceremony in Hunan Province’s capital city of Changsha in March 2015. The pact is set to run its course around the end of 2018, and sources close to Hunan say discussions of extending the partnership are ongoing and the matter is undecided. It’s not clear whether Long’s resignation and arrest has affected the talks in any way.
Hunan TV declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.
Industry veteran Chen Gang was named Long’s replacement as Hunan TV’s chairman. Chen began as a reporter at Hunan TV in 1995 and rose through the ranks, holding positions such as general manager of the film subsidiary and chief of the company’s flagship satellite TV division.