Top Exex Say They’ll Still Go To Monte Carlo

Barring developments in the Persian Gulf war or, more specifically, a rise in threats of terrorist attacks, most U.S. tv suppliers, some more reluctantly than others, are planning to attend the first foreign tv market of the year in Monte Carlo Feb. 11 to 15.

While U.S. participants rank Monte Carlo high in their affections as a well-timed, business-like market, several complained that there are too many conventions and markets scheduled throughout the year. Some would have used the excuse of the war to get out of going, but since the bulk of buyers – and other sellers- appear to be attending, they can’t afford to miss it.

Those international division toppers who say they will make the trip include MCA’s Colin Davis, Worldvision’s Bert Cohen, King World’s Fred Cohen, Fox’ Bill Saunders, Paramount’s Bruce Gordon and Orion’s John Laing. It is understood, however, that a few sales representatives of some companies are making individual decisions not to attend the event.

Warner Bros. TV Intl. president Michael Jay Solomon has decided not to attend Monte Carlo, though the company as a whole will be manning a suite on the third floor of the Loew’s Hotel, staffed partially with foreign-based reps.

It is also thought that Disney and Columbia – both of which have their chief international executive based in London – will rely largely on their European network of sales people to man the Monte Carlo front. It is understood that Disney’s senior v.p. of production, Jamie Bennett, and head of pay-tv, Hal Richardson, are not planning to attend. However, New York-based Michael Grindon, senior v.p. of international tv for Columbia, said he will be attending.

Several companies, including MGM-UA and Viacom, say they have not decided whether to attend.

For midsized companies like New World Intl., ITC Intl., Hearst Entertainment and Group W, their presence at Monte Carlo will be even more low-key than usual.

ITC’s international head, Jim Marrinan, told VARIETY he would be the only U.S.-based exec from the company attending.

“I don’t expect there to be too noticeable a dropoff in the number of buyers attending,” he said. “The international part of the tv business is right now the liveliest sector. I’d hate not to be able to go since those who do go generally conclude a lot of business.”

Hearst Entertainment’s Bill Miller said he still was debating how many execs to send.

A more conservative approach to doing business at Monte Carlo was also registered by Dirk Zimmerman, head of Group W Prods., said his company usually has a presence there but that he himself probably would not be attending. Some of his international clients and partners he saw just two weeks ago at NATPE.

Market organizers said security is being beefed up at the show. They are canceling all public screenings of films, and the opening and closing galas are being dropped. Organizers also decided to keep events within the confines of the Loew’s Hotel itself and to cancel social events.

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