Fest ups the ante

Monte Carlo event expands slate and date

The Monte Carlo TV Festival organizers are expanding their programming competish in the hopes of turning the annual Euro-based event into the TV equivalent of the Cannes Film Festival.

Not only have the dates of the event been moved from February to the first week of July, but the organizers are busily adding three days of confabs, seminars and premiere screenings.

Under fest exec VP David Tomatis and with the support of the fest committee’s chairman, producer Dick Wolf, the organizers are making a systematic push to attract top U.S. creative and executive talent to participate in the event.

Those already signed on for activities during July 1-6 include Wolf, Sony’s Howard Stringer, Turner’s Walter Isaacson, NBC’s Andrew Lack, producer Phil Rosenthal and actor Ray Romano.

Among the prizes to be handed out at the 40th annual programming competish are ones for best drama and comedy series — again a nod to the format that best characterizes mainstream American TV schedules.

The Monte Carlo Festival may eventually steal some of the thunder from Italy’s Prix Italy, another Euro TV competish that takes place each September, but which does not generally attract mainstream American programming.

Wolf noted that the dates of the event were perfect for U.S. producers, given that most shows are then on hiatus and top talent is able to travel more freely.

Fest can rely on a $3 million budget from Monaco, and organizers are courting various potential sponsors for particular events during the week.

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