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CBS Intl. sneaks ‘Hawaii Five-0’

Paramount plays hosts to TV execs for L.A. Screenings

The In-N-Out truck serving lunch was nearly as popular as a certain island-based pilot that unspooled at Paramount Wednesday as global TV buyers continued their weeklong trek from studio to studio as part of the L.A. Screenings.

CBS Studios Intl., which uses Paramount as home for the Screenings, offered worldwide TV execs a showing of “Hawaii Five-0,” the studio’s hottest new property.

The execs who expressed opinions on what they’ve seen this week said a handful of this year’s crop of freshman skeins are strong creatively and may make a ratings impact back home, but there’s no game-changer in the mix — nothing on the level of a “Glee” or “Modern Family” that were the standouts of the last Screenings.

“Nobody’s reinventing the wheel,” said Ghislain Barrois of Spain’s Telecinco, who buys for four channels. A pair of Singapore buyers felt “nothing broke out” as far as anything they’d seen this week, but Twentieth’s “Raising Hope” was mentioned as their favorite comedy. Earlier in the week, NBC Universal’s “The Event” was gathering strong buzz as was HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” which screened for one day only at the company’s Santa Monica digs.

Barrois was impressed with the “Hawaii Five-0” revamp, but questioned whether the series can be as strong as the pilot, which has been estimated to cost upwards of $8 million.

“The chemistry of the characters seemed to work, but the doubt is can they keep the level of quality up for the rest of the series,” said Barrois, who added he was in the market for about four shows — and more drama than comedy — to bring back home.

Roxanne Barcelona, VP of Phillipines-based GMA Worldwide, said one of the highlights of her viewing schedule so far this week was Twentieth’s “Lonestar,” with a “cast that looked fresh.” Like Barrois, Barcelona said most of her programming back home is locally produced, and she would only be grabbing a few shows over the next few months, and probably won’t make any buys until later in the summer or early fall.

Prices have generally increased this year compared to last, and there was already some bidding between a few Latin-American channels. The Canadians spent more on skeins than some originally estimated.

The BBC contingent was on hand at Paramount, following the ITV group on Monday. Some believe prices in the U.K. will also spike.

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