Stars shine at MIP

Euros, Aussies try to entice buyers at TV tradeshow

Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pele and Mick Fleetwood are among the dozen or so celebs skedded to grace the Croisette during the 38th annual Mip TV tradeshow, which opens today on the French Riviera.

This granddaddy of TV tradeshows is one of the key appointments on the international calendar for program buyers and sellers — though the Hollywood contingent generally finds its sister show, October’s Mipcom, to be better timed for its product.

More than 11,000 participants from around the world are expected in Cannes for the five-day bazaar, including some 2,800 program buyers from more than 1,000 stations. That’s about even with last year’s turnout.

Hollywood tends to keep a relatively low profile at Mip, because new network series aren’t announced or available to sell abroad until May.

In the Yanks’ absence, Euros and Aussies step up their stunting, to entice buyers and generate press coverage.

Thus Belmondo. He’ll be on hand to tout a new French miniseries, “Ferchaux,” which top-rated Gallic station TF1 will air and is hoping to sell to other Euro stations.

New to miniseries

Belmondo is making his mini debut in “Ferchaux,” based on a 1943 novel by Georges Simenon. The French screen idol plays a rich businessman caught up in a psychological battle with a younger man on a tropical island.

In past years, the French have not had great success selling shows to other European broadcasters, but a dawning “Euro” sensibility and the appearance of top stars in these made-fors is making such sales more common.

Fleetwood, co-founder and drummer of ’70s rock band Fleetwood Mac, will be available Wednesday for the launch of NBDtv’s hour docu “Mick Fleetwood — Two Sticks and Drum.”

Soccer superstar Pele is attending the Mip market for the Pan American Sports Network confab “Soccer: Television’s No. 1 Sport” Wednesday.

Also skedded is Unicef goodwill ambassador Roger Moore, who’ll take part in the Intl. Emmy Awards press conference today to promote a Unicef/Intl. Council kids initiative.

Supermodel Patricia Velasquez, soon to star in “The Mummy 2,” will attend the launch of Sportsworld’s “Search for a Supermodel” reality show. Skein, a huge success on Network Ten in Australia last fall, is being formatted for the international market.

Birkin docu

Singer-actress Jane Birkin will appear Wednesday on the boat of distribber PMI to discuss forthcoming docu “Jane B,” based on her music, life and relationship with actor-singer Serge Gainsbourg.

Finally, Kate Ashfield and Claudia Karvan, stars of new drama series “Do or Die” and “The Secret Life of Us,” respectively, will grace the exhibition booth of Southern Star. The Aussie distribber is hoping to extend its international sales into the key Continental European countries.

At least one Euro company will not take advantage of the Americans’ low profile at the market.

Germany’s EM.TV, which at recent editions of Mip and Mipcom has bedecked the Croisette with posters, fielded a fleet of yellow cars and hosted pours on its boat, is pulling back. The cash-strapped distribber now is looking for buyers for a number of its assets.

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