Content’s still king

Top shows still attracting foreign buyers

CANNES — Winding down Wednesday, the 41st Mip TV trade show left signs of further upturns in the international TV biz — at least for select product and select product suppliers.

And, though it’s as much about advancing as closing deals, Mip did generate enough agreements and buzz to suggest that on hit shows, buyers were ready to reach for their purse, or at least start marshaling their moolah.

Sony Pictures TV Intl.’s Peter Iacono said Wednesday that his company was expecting its best overseas revenues in memory for Stephen King drama “Kingdom Hospital,” despite its lackluster performance on ABC in the United States.

“Buyers are prepared to pay high prices for successful series. It’s just that they are increasingly selective,” he said.

Paramount Intl. prexy Gary Marenzi reported a lot of interest in the U.K., Western Europe and Australia over HBO’s offbeat oater “Deadwood” and could look to close deals at the L.A. Screenings.

The buyers were back: There were 2,825 this year compared with 2,325 at last year’s Iraq War-dented edition and 2,603 in 2002, confab organizer Reed Midem said.

Fresh deals announced Wednesday:

  • Endemol sold tile-toppling gameshow “Domino Day 2004” to RTL for broadcasting in 20 territories and inked with Scandi paybox ViaSat for reality skein “There’s Something About Miriam.”

  • Reveille sold market-debuting reality series “30 Days” to the U.K., Germany, Holland and Australia.

  • E! has offers in from the U.K. and Australia on body improvement reality show “Doctor 90210.”

  • Southern Star added Germany (ARD) and Mexico (Canal Once) to more than 25 territories sold on toon series “Tracey McBean.”

  • TV Azteca pre-sold “La Heredera” to 25 countries.

  • France’s Marathon made a string of sales on toon kid show Martin Mystery, including Fox Box in the U.S., and licensed sudser “Saint Tropez” to Italy’s Mediaset.

  • Grundy Italia is teaming with Mediaset and Spain’s Telecinco to co-produce a series of local TV movies centered on French sleuth Inspector Maigret and starring Greta Scacchi and Sergio Castellito.

The Japanese biz saw the biggest glitch at Mip as Movie Television, which onsells U.S. pics to local broadcasters, filed for protection from its creditors after its debts climbed to $350 million at the end of January. Movie Television had dealings with Paramount, Universal and MGM, among others.

Total participation at Mip and Milia, which for the first time ran simultaneously, stood at 10,307, up from attendance last year of 9,104 and 10,200 in 2002.