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‘Red Band Society’ Italian Redo Lights Ratings Fire in Italy

Kids hospital drama ‘Braccialetti Rossi’ dominates Sunday primetime

MADRID – Proving markets differ for format makeovers, “Braccialetti Rossi,” the Italian redo of Spain’s childrens hospital ward drama “The Red Band Society,” is punching standout ratings: 6.47 million viewers and a 23.3% audience share.

Ratings come two days after “Red Band’s” Spanish original, “Polseres Vermelles,” written by Albert Espinosa, helmed by Pau Freixas and sold worldwide by Filmax Intl., took top honors at New York’s third Intl. Emmy Kids Awards, winning best series.

Aud stats are for season two’s second seg. “Braccialetti” has been building its audience in select TV real estate – Sunday night primetime. Even so, results are exceptional. “Braccialetti” proved a fairly easy timeslot winner, beating out Mediaset soap “Il Segreto” (4.36 million) on Canale 5. On RaiDue, “NCIS” trapped 2.27 million viewers, “NCIS Los Angeles” 2.55 million.

The second-season Italo makeover is tracking 3.4 percentage points up on the first season’s second seg, which notched 19.9% share and an aud of 5.7 million. The first season went on to build converts for a 24.9% and 25.9% fifth and sixth episode shares, respectively (Drama is broadcast in two-hour episodes).

Results contrast with the U.S., where “The Red Band Society” has proved one of multiple foreign format adaptation casualties this season, with Fox pulling the U.S. redo, produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and ABC Studios, last December after one season.

As with other pubcasters, RAI core audiences skew older than commercial channels. “Brachialetti” has managed to also cross over to younger demos. Palomar, the producer of Italian modern classic cop series “El comisario Montalbano,” also produces “Brachialetti.”

Italy also shares Spain’s sense of pathos. “Italy is culturally near to Spain, and Spanish fiction is traveling abroad, especially to Western and Eastern Europe and Latin America,” said Ivan Diaz, head of Filmax’s international division.

Produced for Channel One, Russia’s biggest free-to-air TV service, a “Polseres Vermelles” Russia/Ukraine remake is in post-production. America TV will shortly air a Peruvian remake, while negotiations for French- and German-language adaptations are advanced. A pan-Latin American version and Portuguese-language makeover are also under discussion, Diaz said. “Polseres Vermelles” has already received a Chilean remake from TVN.

First aired on TV3 in 2011, written by Albert and helmed by Pau Freixas,” Polseres” has been Filmax’s first TV drama bet. It is not its last. Though one of Europe’s most famed genre film producers, Filmax is now producing both film and TV, including a Spasnish version of Channel 4-aired “Dates,” acquired from eONe Intl., for a Catalan retread for TV3. Filmax also has another TV drama, “I Know Who You Are,” helmer Freixas’ follow-up to “Polseres.” A thriller event series, “I Know” could be made in either Spanish or English language, said Diaz.

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this article.

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