LONDON — Despite reports that Blighty satcaster BSkyB’s chief executive Tony Ball will be keeping a tight hold on the purse strings, acquisition execs will be out in force at the L.A. Screenings.
But with every U.K broadcaster chasing the same product — one-hour dramas that play to young audiences — competish will be tough and prices will be high, welcome news for the U.S. studios.
“We’re determined to go to L.A. and buy the shows that we want. Tony Ball is very supportive of what we’re trying to do which is to grow the business and we are going to have sufficient funds to acquire what we want,” Dawn Airey, managing director of Sky Networks, told Variety.
Entertainment web Sky One relies predominantly on U.S. series such as “The Simpsons” to draw its largest audiences and is keen to find a replacement for “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” this year. But it is likely to boost its domestic production in the long term.
“It’s nice not to be reliant on another country’s decisions for your programming, however Sky One is known for having top shows from the U.S. and we absolutely intend to keep that positioning,” said Airey.
“Sky One schedule is an enormous hungry beast and needs to be fed so we are looking for everything from 8 p.m. shows through to post 9 p.m. series. Anything sci-fi we’re always interested in,” adds Airey.
But many Brit acquisition execs are disappointed by the lack of interesting pilots on offer at the L.A Screenings. Sophie Turner Laing, director of film channels and acquisitions at BSkyB blames the U.S. networks fascination with reality for the lack of innovation.
“There’s definitely a spate of ‘CSI’ look-a-likes scattered all over the pilots and there are remarkably few medical dramas, which is unusual.”
And while Steven Bochco, who’s back with “NYPD 2069” is a must-see says Blighty’s buyers, a decision to acquire is “still contingent on casting,” according to Turner Laing.