Cautious optimism at Mip TV conference

TV buyers eager to replenish dwindling stores

As Mip TV gears up, a promo of Spanish, French and even Macedonian versions of “The Wheel of Fortune,” presented Sunday by CBS at the one-day Mip Formats conference, was just one indication of where the international TV business is heading.

But Mip TV’s conference panel sked already suggests major trends at the five-day mart, which kicks off today: emerging markets, digital TV, high-end international dramas plus co-productions — and formats.

Attendance suggests the market has bottomed out.

By Saturday, accreditations were at 11,500 attendees, level with 2009, said Laurine Garaude, Reed Midem TV division director.

Buyers are up 5% to 4,000.

“TV execs are more in buy mode,” Garaude said. “There is a strong appetite for acquisitions. Some companies have relied on stock last year and need to replenish inventories. But there are also many new players seeking quality content.”

In another sign of rebound, a bevy of new high-end dramas and event TV is being brought onto the market.

Making its Mip TV debut, Graham King’s GK TV, launched in November, is introducing “Camelot,” from British shingle Ecosse Toronto’s Take 5, and “The Tudors” producer Octagon in Dublin.

“We’re looking to deliver on authenticity but also still have fun with the mythology,” GK TV prexy Craig Cegielski said.

Paris-based Frederic Sichler has just announced “Pharaoh,” from showrunner John Milius, set in ancient Egypt.

“The Wire’s” Idris Elba will fly into Mip to promote crime drama series “Luther” for BBC Worldwide, while Jason Priestley will tubthump E1’s “Call Me Fitz.”

In formats, Ben Silverman’s new shingle Electus has “Big Time Spender,” a Chinese gameshow being developed with Mark Burnett Prods., while Endemol’s biggest bets are “100 Ways to Leave a Gameshow” and “Extra, Extra Small.”

Fox is pushing format rights to its sitcoms and dramas, such as “Prison Break,” which are coming to the end of their original series runs, Marion Edwards, prexy of international TV at 20th Century Fox Television said at Mip Formats on Sunday.

CBS’ Paul Gilbert told the Formats confab that the net is eyeing companies to buy outside the U.S.

The mood going into Mip TV is “cautiously optimistic,” Cegielski said.

“From where I sit in Los Angeles the development of new programming and production is picking up. I think we will see evidence of this at Mip,” said Jeff Tahler, FremantleMedia VP, acquisitions and development.

(Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.)

More Scene

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk – and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

  • Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani

    Dave Bautista Talks Representation in Hollywood and Defying Stereotypes with 'Stuber'

    Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani make an unlikely duo in “Stuber,” an R-rated comedy about a police officer and his Uber driver. But the two connected over the rare chance to star in the film as actors of Asian descent (Baustia is half-Filipino and Nanjiani is Pakistani). “I’ve been stereotyped for a couple different reasons [...]

  • Skin

    How Jamie Bell Transformed Into a Neo-Nazi for 'Skin'

    Anyone who still associates British actor Jamie Bell with his breakout role as a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer will quickly forget all about “Billy Elliot” after seeing “Skin,” which screened at ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday night. “I was shocked,” the film’s writer-director, Guy Nattiv, told Variety of his leading man’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content