Panel: Sudsers, sports ahead

Foreign buyers may face problems if U.S. nets keep skein orders down

LAS VEGAS — Primetime sudsers, period dramas and babes on beaches are some of the main trends in the upcoming pilots to be on offer to foreign buyers at the L.A. Screenings this May.

There are also a number of projects focused on sports — a clear attempt to lure back some of those fickle young male viewers, many of whom deserted the American networks this past season.

Another trend to watch for will be series about families “with issues,” a direct result, observers say, of the healing process under way in America since 9/11.

One problem foreign buyers could face is the likelihood that U.S. series may be getting ever shorter, as networks try to keep the number of episodes down to as few as six or eight weeks of episodes rather than the standard 22 or 13.

The NATPE panel Sunday called “The L.A. Screenings: An Insider’s Sneak Peek,” moderated by TV Tracker’s Mark Hoebich, featured panelists including Initiative North America’s Lynn Koerner, Sony TV’s Pamela Parker, NBC’s Lisa Melching and TV Tracker’s Caroyln Finger.