BBC Web pact leads busy U.K. pack

Riffage.com buys N.A. rights to 'Music Live'

CANNES — Maybe it was the rain making them feel at home as the British contingent had a busy first day at Mip in Cannes on Monday, led by BBC Worldwide’s confirmation of a rumored $2 million programming sale to U.S. Webcaster Riffage.com.

Riffage picked up North American rights to the Beeb’s “BBC Music Live” extravaganza, five days of concerts climaxing in a 24-hour music marathon May 28. Headliners include Elton John, Van Morrison, Paul Weller and Reef.

All told, the event will feature 5,000 acts from across the U.K. and offer 1,000 hours of live music. A lot of content, but as Rupert Gavin, chief exec of the BBC’s commercial arm pointed out, “Seven figures is a lot of money for a five-day Webcast.”

Kidvid, family plans

Meanwhile, Carlton America, the subsid of ITV network company Carlton Communications, has partnered with Landmark Entertainment Group to develop kids and family programming for the U.S. market.

Carlton added it is setting up an inhouse development and co-production division in L.A. to be headed by Marc Lorber, former TV VP of Phoenix Pictures. Three shows are in development with Landmark and the first to be pitched to the nets will be “Games of Zargon,” described as a family-oriented “Robot Wars.”

Ardent about telepics

For his part, British royal Edward Windsor — found mingling with CBS execs at the net’s expansive Mip booth — told Daily Variety that his company, Ar-dent Prods., has four TV films in development for U.S. and U.K. broadcasters. One unnamed project is intended for the Eye web.

Channel 4 Intl. also had news — a first-look development and distribution deal with U.K. program maker Company Television. C4I, which manages Channel 4’s programming assets, already had a significant relationship with Company. The two are co-producing the four-hour “Nicholas Nickleby” for ITV.

Finally, Granada — like Carlton, one of the big three ITV companies — let on that it also had a joint-venture deal with an American partner, but would an-nounce the deal later.

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