Scripted skeins hot at TV mart

CANNES — In the ever-evolving global TV sales biz, fiction’s the new reality.

Scripted shows hogged the limelight Monday, the opening day of the 42nd Mip TV market in Cannes, overshadowing the reality shows that have transformed schedules and dominated program marts in recent years.

Disney distrib arm Buena Vista Intl. trumpeted ratings success around the world with “Desperate Housewives,” which has sold to 130 territories. Distrib said it’s also doing brisk biz with “Lost” and has high hopes for its latest U.S. success, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

But purveyors of American fiction shouldn’t count their chickens. Broadcasters will be waiting to see the new offerings at the upcoming L.A. Screenings before drawing any longer-term conclusions about the continuing primetime potential of U.S fare.

Meanwhile, Hallmark Entertainment was flogging its latest longform projects, including the earthquake drama “10.5,” made for NBC, and topically themed biopic “The Man Who Would Be the Pope.”

“Minis are hot again,” said Joel Denton, prexy of distribution at Hallmark Entertainment, “especially anything to do with disasters, earthquakes, tornadoes and classic mythology.”

Buyers noted a dearth of U.S. telepics on the market, however. “Nobody’s making them any more,” observed a senior European acquisitions exec.

Following the merger of Sony and MGM, international sales execs from the two companies shared stand space in the Palais for the first time. Deal is so fresh that for this mart, each continued to market its own lineup.

MGM is distribbing NBC’s upcoming “Revelations,” already sold to broadcasters including France’s TF1. Mystical thriller bows Wednesday night on the Peacock.

In Cannes, Americans weren’t the only ones touting new drama.

There were a clutch of European co-productions, including RAI’s “Kefalonia,” about the massacre of Italian soldiers in Greece during WWII, an incident recounted in the novel and film “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.”

From further afield, Korean TV execs were tub-thumping their product, which already exports well throughout Asia. A prominent billboard on the Palais featured the latest drama from KBS, “Emperor of the Seas.”

Byeong-Joon Song, producer of such Asian hits as “Bright Girl’s Success Story” and the more recent “Sorry I Love You,” spoke bullishly about his desire to crack the North American market — soon.

“So far our shows haven’t been up to standard in terms of content and style but we hope to penetrate North America by next year with projects that could be suitable for audiences there,” he said. (Presumably he means sales to niche cablers in the U.S. that cater to Asian immigrants.)

The producer cited two examples, the sword-fighting costume drama “Sky Dance,” in post-production, and “The Whale,” an adaptation of a Korean novel about revenge through three generations of women from the 1950s to the present.

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