L.A. Screenings brings the world to Hollywood

Studios wine, dine buyers

HOLLYWOOD — Studios went all out last week for the annual program-buying bazaar known as the L.A. Screenings. The 10-day event brings TV station buyers from around the world, who come to get their first look at the new network primetime shows for fall.

Because of the dramatic downturn in the international TV biz as a whole — and the fact that several past seasons of Yank shows have been so lackluster — the key studios in town pulled out all the stops to wine and dine the 800-odd buyers who made the trek.

Disney, for example, took over the El Capitan May 19 to screen trailers of its new shows, and managed to entice an impressive line-up of cast members – from Ben Affleck and Gregory Hines to Eric Roberts and Bonnie Hunt — to press the flesh. Jim Belushi, who already fronts a Disney sitcom, performed at the theater; Tom Jones regaled the 600 guests at the party in the Kodak Building.

Universal laid its red carpet down May 20 for a screening of its upcoming pic “About a Boy” and for a party at the elegantly decked out Quixote Studios. Sushi, cool jazz and Roberta Flack killed them softly.

Other suppliers, including Sony, Fox and Warners variously wined and dined and screened movies for the buyers on other nights.

Scrappy indie Alliance Atlantis, which distributes “CSI: Miami,” chose a Latin theme for its shindig at the Conga Room May 22.