Indie distrib comes out at Cannes
Next week’s Mip international TV sales confab in Cannes will be a coming-out party for ShineReveille Intl., the distribution wing of the powerhouse indies that merged in February.Chris Grant, formerly head of Reveille Intl. and a partner in the company, leads the expanded distribution operation as prexy of ShineReveille Intl. Company is also aggressively pursuing distrib pacts with indie producers, as Reveille has already done with Mark Burnett Prods., among others. In preparation for Mip, ShineReveille has cut a deal to handle certain international rights on upcoming NBC/CTV drama “The Listener” and inked with Merv Griffin Entertainment to handle overseas sales of the company’s new programming. To manage the growing slate, ShineReveille has beefed up its sales and administration staff with promotions and new hires, including the boosting of Reveille Intl. veteran John Pollak to senior veep and appointment of former TVF Intl. exec Kate Ward as head of Eastern Europe sales, based out of Shine’s London office. Elisabeth Murdoch, chair-CEO of Shine Group, said Shine and Reveille were among the first to recognize the explosive growth in the international format and production business, which would continue to be a huge area of focus for the banner. “There’s a huge competitive opportunity for us in international markets,” Murdoch said. “I think sometimes being part of those huge financial juggernaut (congloms) can skew their view of what is happening (in TV) internationally. Selling formats is a harder sell, and it’s one of the reasons our international sales have been so successful.” Murdoch credited Grant for building a rich distribution infrastructure and network of relationships within just a few years at Reveille. Grant said the merger with Shine allows Reveille to maintain its creative-driven entrepreneurial culture. “We want ShineReveille to be thought of as a distribution company made up of producers selling content. That’s our focus, whether it’s acquisitions or distribution,” Grant said. “It gives us a unique relationship with our buyers. We’re likely to be pitching them a new show at the same time we’re trying to sell them (an existing) show.” Pact with Toronto-based Shaftesbury Films for “Listener” marks the company’s first distribution deal for a scripted skein from a major broadcast web. ShineReveille will rep the show in all markets outside the U.S., but Fox Intl. will retain cable and sat-TV rights in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. At Mip TV, ShineReveille will tubthump format rights for other nonscripted shows including Fox gameshow “The Moment of Truth”; NBC’s “American Gladiators,” “My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad” and “Amnesia”; Channel 4’s “The Family”; and BBC’s “MasterChef.” ShineReveille’s pact with Merv Griffin Entertainment stems from Reveille’s existing relationship with the company in repping foreign rights on syndie strip “Crosswords.” Roy Bank, who was just named prexy of TV for Merv Griffin Entertainment, previously headed Mark Burnett Prods., which has done plenty of biz with Reveille in the past few years. With Bank coming aboard, Merv Griffin Entertainment has pledged to unveil a slate of gameshow and nonscripted projects over the coming months. On the exec side, in addition to Pollak, Reveille Intl. vets Matt Vassallo, Dave Mayer and Hayley Sneiderman are getting expanded responsibilities. Vassallo will oversee sales for all of Latin America. Mayer will head all business and legal affairs for the unit, assisted by Sneiderman. Brad Jorgensen, formerly an exec with L.A. post house Modern Video, has been hired as director of operations to handle administrative matters for ShineReveille. All four execs are based in L.A. Sarah Tong, previously a distrib consultant to Shine, will continue to serve in that capacity for the merged entity, based out of the London office. ShineReveille completed its merger in February (Daily Variety, Feb. 15).