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MipTV: A+E Studios’ Chief Paul Buccieri on Reality Shows That Bite

Paul Buccieri, who joined A+E Networks two and a half years ago as president of A+E Studios and A+E Portfolio Group, is placing his faith in relationship-based formats.

Speaking on stage on Saturday at MipFormats — a companion show to MipTV – in Cannes, France, he explained how the network was rolling out its formats around the world.

“We produce, across our brands, 1,300 hours of content and of that about a third are formats,” he said. “So it was time for us to take those shows, take all that data we have, and… really get out there and sell those shows around the world.”

Buccieri explained that the fact that A+E is both a network and also co-develops and co-produces many of its shows gives it a competitive advantage in the global market.

Although A+E produces a wide range of formats, including some shiny-floor shows — game shows, for example — it is focusing on a different type of format, often centering on relationship issues.

“Our sweet-spot is these more authentic — sometimes a little gritty — shows. Everyone says they are new and fresh, but they are only new and fresh against the landscape of the shiny-floor shows,” he said.

“They hark back to the [documentary]. We put the framework in there, but once we are in that environment we let the characters and the people we cast take us in a lot of unexpected directions,” he said.

He added that such shows are well-suited to being adapted in a wide-range of international markets. “Depending on the market and on the show, you can scale down to a market so they work on their price points or you can blow it up. There is a lot of flexibility in that, that a big shiny-floor show doesn’t have,” he said.

One such series is “A Question of Love,” a new show that follows a couple after they decide to move in together. “It has a lot of the bite, the intensity, the unexpectedness of those shows,” he says.

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