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Buyers flock to L.A. Screenings

Annual bazaar spotlights new shows

What’s on tap at L.A. Screenings

Hoping to land the next “Lost” and not “Lone Star,” TV buyers from around the globe have descended to the center of showbiz for the L.A. Screenings.

At the annual buying bazaar where new shows are up for grabs for the right price, the big Hollywood studios began offering their wares last week and will stay open until the last comedy is sold.

Not really. Usually it’s only the Canadians and Brits who open their checkbooks right away because of the intense competition in those regions. The other network representatives are here with less pressure because their respective channels have output deals with the studio. With far less pressure to make an immediate decision of what series will make a good hometown fit, they’ll watch the new shows on movie-size screens and get an assessment of what the new season has to offer.

Each studio has a few buzzworthy selections. Warner Bros. is hoping the time-traveling “Alcatraz” is going to be a hot commodity and have a long run on Fox.

Network is slotting the show for a midseason run, but that may not matter to buyers. Actually, the studio is hoping that Fox will be able to give “Alcatraz” plenty of promotional muscle on its own, rather than having to split up the marketing dollars among all the September series debuts.

According Warner Bros. International TV topper Jeffrey Schlesinger, “Buyers are looking at tone and demeanor of a show first, then creative auspices, and a timeslot and network third.”

Warners, which usually has a lengthy drama slate on offer, is unusually heavier in comedies this time around. They have “2 Broke Girls” and CBS has given it a comfy timeslot on Mondays between longrunning sitcoms “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.”

Twentieth is betting heavily on “Terra Nova,” the dino-sized Jason O’Mara drama in which a family is sent back to prehistoric times to try and stop the planet from destruction.

Fox originally was going to air the pilot in May but had to push it back to September in order to complete all the special effects work. However, its the familial aspect of the series that makes studio’s international TV prexy Marion Edwards enthused.

“The one thing clients have kept saying is that they want a family drama, and something not too violent,” she explained. “There are thrills and excitement in this, but it’s the relationships that come to the fore.”

Edwards is also high on “Awake,” from “Lone Star” creator Kyle Killen. Airing in midseason on NBC, the show received high praise among those who saw clips at the network’s recent ad upfront.

Sony brings out a couple of iconic titles: One is a classic 1970s TV show, the other an airline.

Studio is hoping the “Charlie’s Angels” reboot — which will clearly accentuate more beauty than brains — can be a winner both on ABC but in foreign territories as well. While some older titles have had successful relaunches — think “90210” and “Hawaii Five-0” — others such as “The Bionic Woman” and “Melrose Place” fell flat.

“It’s very appealing,” said Keith Le Goy, Sony’s president of international distribution of “Angels.” “What we’re looking to do is make it incredibly relevant for this generation.”

NBCUniversal is feeling good about “Smash,” starring “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing and Katharine McPhee, one of top singers ever to come out of reality sensation “American Idol.”

CBS Studios Intl. enters the Screenings with only four new entries, a bit less than in past year’s, but has high expectations for Patrick Wilson starrer “A Gifted Man.”

And at Disney, which comes in offering a bigger slate than normal, dramas include fairy tale drama “Once Upon a Time” and “Scandal,” from “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes.

What’s on tap at L.A. Screenings

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