Indies turn on TV mart

Brisk biz foreseen between majors, foreign b'casters

On the eve of the Mipcom TV trade show in Cannes, a number of independent distributors are touting their wares or have completed programming deals with station buyers.

The most important global sales bazaar for TV programming on the fall calendar kicks off Monday and wraps Friday, and business is expected to be brisk thanks to ever-expanding specialist channels and healthy advertising markets.

Hollywood majors will wrap deals with foreign broadcasters for their recently debuted fall network series. Warners “Invasion,” Fox’s “Prison Break” and Par’s “Everybody Hates Chris” are among hot titles. Foreign buyers will be reassured now that other series, including Disney-distribbed “Ghost Whisperer” and Fox’s “Bones,” have had full-season offers.

Here’s a sampling of other deals:

  • The U.K.’s Granada Intl. recently made a number of TV sales deals in China. Among them are wildlife docs sold to National Geographic Channel Asia including “Waters of Life.” Dramas “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” and “It Can’t Be Love” have sold to Hong Kong Century Films, which is a CCTV daypart partner and syndicator. Granada’s “The Great Gatsby” has sold to Royal Seal Media, which also operates a daypart on the Chinese pubcaster.

  • The U.K.’s Channel 4 has licensed reality show “It’s Me or the Dog” to TV Norge (Norway), YLE (Finland), TV4 (Sweden), TV2 Denmark, SBS (Netherlands) and Hong Kong’s TVB. M6 in France will produce a Gallic version. “Dog” comes from “Supernanny” producer Ricochet.

  • Germany’s Beta Film will highlight two-part miniseries “Dresden — the Inferno,” about the bombing of the city during WWII; crime thriller mini “In the Claws of the Dragon”; plus “Against All Odds,” about Margarete Steiff, who founded a world-famous teddy bear company.

  • Dutch-based doc specialist Off the Fence has sold episodes from “Nature’s Greatest Moments” series as well as “Secrets of the Battleship Yamato” to Paybox Spektrum, which broadcasts in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary; “Animals Like Us,” about animal emotions, has gone to Channel 7 in Turkey; Poland’s Ale Kino! has snapped up doc “The Day That James Dean Died.”

  • L.A.-based WPT Enterprises has added format sales consultant Matthew Ody to its Mipcom team as part of the introduction of its “World Poker Tour” format. He will help WPTE unveil a newfangled format sale designed to produce higher broadcaster returns through built-in, ancillary revenue streams. Ody worked for Endemol and NBC Intl. before launching his own shingle.

  • RAI Trade, the distrib arm of the Italian pubcaster, is presenting “Claudia Cardinale,” a biodoc about the thesp that will premiere in Cannes.

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