‘Cleveland’ hot in Cannes

Endemol lines up sales for laffer at Mipcom

Endemol launched “Hot in Cleveland,” Viacom-owned cabler TV Land’s sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White, at Mipcom on Monday.

Cathy Payne, Endemol’s worldwide distribution topper confirmed that U.K. paybox BSkyB had picked up “Hot” and said she expected to license the show to 15 more territories during the mrt.

At a Q and A session with Bertinelli, Leeves and Malick, the trio of middle-aged actresses said that no mainstream U.S. network would have taken a risk on “Hot” because it focuses on women of a certain age.

“As an aging actress, it is very unusual to land a show like this,” said Malick. “It is untapped territory. We tend to be cast either as mothers, judges, ex-wives or the murderers — that is if you’re looking to work once you’ve reached a certain age.”

She said that it was no coincidence that the show, which has been compared to a latter day “The Golden Girls,” hailed from TV Land.

“Cable stations are happier to reflect people as they are in their shows (than the main networks),” Malick said. “None of the networks were looking at the traditional sitcom, but I hear because of this show’s success they are considering them again.”

Bertinelli added, “Ageing is a universal thing, which is why I think this will be an international hit.”

Leeves said she thought there would be more traditional sitcoms made following “Hot in Cleveland.”

“People say it’s like watching an old-fashioned comedy, but with hip references. It’s a strong hybrid,” she added. “One great thing about doing this show is that we were left alone. When I did ‘Frasier’ you could just get on with it. When I guest on a network show nowadays there are 10 million people deciding what I wear.”

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