Mipcom: CBS’ David Stapf, Armando Nunez Talk Franchises, Serialized vs. Procedural and Collaborations

Mipcom: CBS' David Stapf, Armando Nunez
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Two pillars of CBS — studio chief David Stapf and global distribution boss Armando Nunez — took the stage at Mipcom Tuesday to talk up the Eye’s powerhouse series franchises and the explosive growth of the content marketplace.

Stapf and Nunez spoke with World Screen’s Anna Carugati about how CBS happened to deliver new “NCIS” and “CSI” series in the same year this season.

Stapf said they didn’t plan it that way but after meeting real-life figures that were perfect inspirations for the shows, they decided to go for it with “NCIS: New Orleans” and “CSI: Cyber.” One was a Navy investigator based in New Orleans; the other was a woman who specialized in computer-based forensic work.

Although CBS could easily sell another “NCIS” or “CSI”-branded series in international markets, Nunez emphasized that they’re careful to make sure the elements are right for the show to have a long run.

“It has to be the right time and the right place and the right idea,” Nunez said. Stapf added that he and Nunez talk every day as he’s evaluating projects to develop at the CBS Television Studios production arm. “It’s a valuable relationship for me,” Stapf said of Nunez.

Stapf said he marveled at the sheer volume of the programs on display at the Mipcom market. He was gratified to learn first-hand that the international buyers who license CBS shows are so heavily invested in their success.

“They’re as intimately involved with these shows as I am. These are their shows,” Stapf said. “That’s great to hear because now I know they are taking care of them.”

The two discussed the procedural vs. serialized drama debate. Nunez observed that international buyers have become more open to buying shows that are less than a traditional 22-episode order. Stapf said he sees “The Good Wife” as a “paradigm shift” for CBS as a show that mixes both elements. “They strike that balance so well,” Stapf said.

Nunez was pressed about the complexities of selling programs internationally now that digital rights are part of the equation for many deals — or not.

“The introduction of digital platforms is really just another form of windowing,” Nunez said. “The pricing will determine how the windows take place and how exclusivity is granted. There’s a pipe out there for almost every genre of content.”

(Pictured: “NCIS” exec producer Gary Glasberg, star Mark Harmon, Armando Nunez and David Stapf in August)

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