×

Belgium: Pubcasters eye new product

BRUSSELLS — With changes at Belgium’s public and private French-language broadcasters, Mip could see some unexpected choices from RTBF and RTL buyers.

At French-language pubcaster RTBF, the board has launched its so-called Magellan Plan, designed to get the cash-strapped broadcaster back on track financially, with a change in direction toward more popular shows.

After axing a trio of old favorites, RTBF is trying to attract viewers with the kind of popular fare usually shown on commercial channels. Striking RTBF employees are protesting that the pubcaster is losing its identity.

Despite the success of French import “Venus and Apollo” and long-running U.S. imports like “Ally McBeal,” RTBF has been criticized for allowing private channels to move in on its traditional territory, missing out on heavyweight imports like a BBC doc series on the Nazis.

Meanwhile, at French-language commercial broadcaster RTL, Patrick Vandenbosch has taken over as head of acquisitions, replacing long-time chief buyer Jean Paul Delcomminette. Recent American imports include “CSI” and “Desperate Housewives.”

The Flemish broadcasting arena is more predictable, with a continuing focus on local fare, especially at pubcaster VRT, where buying coordinator Franz Lefever says U.S. imports rarely do well in primetime slots. Instead, shows like cop series “Witse,” soccer comedy “FS de Kampionen” and soap “Phuif” (Home) regularly attract one viewer in six.

Reality shows are going strong, and there is a continuing interest in new formats. After its success with the Flemish “Pop Idol,” VRT has bought the format for “Fame Academy,” which it intends to produce later this year, while commercial broadcaster VTM is doing well with local versions of “Star Academy,” “Blind Date” and “X-Factor.”

“We have a lot of documentary slots to fill and are looking in Cannes for good science, history, human interest and current affairs programs,” Lefever says.

Canvas, VRT’s second channel, has the most need for acquisitions, and Lefever hopes to find good shows from Germany, France and other European countries, as well as product from as far away as Australia.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Steven Knight

    BBC Orders Steven Knight Drama Series ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’

    The BBC has ordered “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” which is being adapted by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” from Ben Macintyre’s book. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series is being produced by Kudos, whose [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content