‘Brody,’ ‘Columbo’ impress buyers

Foreign nets see 'Bridget Jones' qualities in 'Emma'

HOLLYWOOD — Among the hot shows currently unspooling for 1,000 foreign TV buyers at the L.A. Screenings are Fox’s upcoming midseason drama “Emma Brody” and Universal’s evergreen “Columbo.”

Station buyers who attended screenings on the Fox lot Monday and Tuesday were taken with the concept of a young American girl posted to London as a vice consul and by the fresh performance of newcomer Arija Bareikis in the title role.

“It has a ‘Bridget Jones’ quality to it,” said L.A.-based consultant Richard Sattler, referring to the popular British novels and recent feature film. “The show exceeded our expectations. The only negative is that it’s a midseason show (for Fox) and hence won’t be available to air until next March or April.”

Sattler’s buyers — who include Scandi and Dutch stations — have not inked for this show, since as a general rule they use the Screenings to view shows but don’t make up their minds about which ones to pick up until the fall. In some cases his buyers have long-term output deals with Fox, so they’ll be getting “Emma Brody” anyway.

Over at the Universal lot, top sales execs surprised buyers Monday by bringing out an overseas icon, Peter Falk, whose “Columbo” still plays around the world.

The occasion marked the 30th anni of the series premiere in 1971.

“Among the many long-standing classic TV shows and characters in our library, ‘Columbo’ remains a true standout,” Universal Studios TV Distribution co-prexy Steve Jarmus said.

Russian broadcaster ORT has just renewed all the episodes and movies that make up the “Columbo” franchise.

The series also wins its time period on France’s top net TF1 and in the U.K. on the BBC. It is one of the few American shows that still plays in primetime in Germany (on RTL) and in Italy (on Rete 4). Franchise is reckoned one of the studio’s biggest money-spinners over the years.

Per several buyers who attended screenings on the Universal lot, the new installment of the Dick Wolf “Law & Order” franchise, which is called “Criminal Intent,” looked “well-crafted” and “rigorously produced.”

A buyer from a non-English-speaking territory said, though, that the Wolf franchise is “difficult” for his market. noting that the “Law & Order” series is “very intelligent, but our court system is different. Shows like that, especially very wordy ones, don’t always translate that well.”