Homeward bound

H'w'd exex get down to biz so they can exit early

CANNES — Despite the muted tone of the Mipcom TV trade show, those Yanks who braved the trans-Atlantic crossing to the French Riviera were bent Tuesday on wrapping up as much business as possible.

A number of Hollywood execs are planning to exit Cannes today, two days before the Friday close, leaving loose ends and last-minute deals to their international sales team.

Staying busy

“Traffic is definitely down from last year,” said Columbia TriStar Intl. prexy Michael Grindon, who nonetheless insisted that his company was racking up business.

One of the most successful is the local production front — Sony has outclassed all the other Hollywood majors by producing localized series for territories ranging from Italy and Spain to India and Brazil.

Sony VP Brendan Fitzgerald told Daily Variety that a surprising number of foreign stations had dropped by the Sony booth to talk about partnering on such ventures. The company already produces more hours per year abroad than in the U.S.

Mouse bites cheese

Meanwhile, Disney continued to put finishing touches on a number of programming deals around Europe, including multiyear licensing agreements for classic animated hits like “Mulan,” “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life.”

Among those who signed on the bottom line were the BBC in Britain, Danmarks Radio, Portugal’s Sic, Benelux’s Cinenova and Ireland’s RTE.

The Mouse House also clinched a deal with Finnish broadcaster Channel Four for its fall season newcomers “Alias,” “Scrubs” and “Bob Patterson.”

Classics back

Classics were also at the center of two deals put together by the sales team at Universal: “The Rockford Files” and “Alias Smith and Jones” will get a new lease on life through a deal U finalized at Mipcom with Granada Sky Broadcasting’s flagship channel Plus.

And U’s classic horror films — think “Frankenstein,” “The Invisible Man” and “The Wolf Man” — will scare up new viewers in Latin America through deals with Argentina’s Artear and Venezuela’s Venevision.

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