Comcast sells personality-driven fare

Over 450 hours of E! licensed since October

CANNES — Comcast Intl. Media Group has licensed more than 450 hours of E! personality-driven programming since October’s Mipcom TV mart.

Worldwide deal highlights include “Girls of the Playboy Mansion” sales to U.K.’s Living Channel, Holland’s RTL and SBS in Denmark.

Bought by Virgin 17 in France and Germany’s MTV, “Pam: Girl on the Loose” has also sold to Switzerland’s Viva Swiss, Austria’s Puls4 and Canada’s Musique Plus.

Czech Republic Nova TV took “Pam” and “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated,” another Virgin 17 purchase.

In Sweden, TV400 acquired “Snoop Dog’s Father Hood,” as have Denmark’s TV2 Zebra and Poland’s Play TV. Belgium’s Jim TV has picked up “Mansion” and “Pam.”

Made mainly to pay-TV cable and satellite channels, CIMG’s reality TV series sales underscore the general robustness of pay TV markets outside the U.S. as operators’ subscription bases largely hold, despite recession, said CIMG senior VP of international Duccio Donati.

Also, audiences are craving escapist fare. “People get so much bad news every day. They’re looking for something they can relax into.”

Donati said contract sales have remained steady, despite the economic downturn.

“What you do see, however, from last quarter 2008, is that buyers who were buying very large packages for the year are now making commitments for the shows they need for the next quarter,” Donati said.

New CIMG shows at Mip TV include “G4 Underground,” about U.S. subcultures, such as superhero dressed crime-fighters, urban explorers and fight clubs, and Golf Channel’s “The Haney Project,” with Tiger Woods’ coach trying to correct Charles Barkley’s swing.

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