Selling one-hour dramas to buyers in foreign markets at Mipcom isn’t always that different from pitching shows to some domestic outlets: Terrestrial broadcasters gravitate toward procedurals, and SVOD outlets are often more interested in edgier, serialized fare.
Gina Brogi, president of global distribution for Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, who will be talking fall superhero drama “The Gifted” and midseason medical drama “The Resident” at Mipcom, says there is a lot of discussion about the procedural versus serialized storytelling model in this international marketplace. She believes there may be more demand for procedurals from free-to-air broadcasters but knows the importance of well-known source material to help a new series break through, too. “That’s really what clients and content creators want in this time of so much content availability,” Brogi says.
Worldwide familiarity with “The X-Men,” thanks to the comic book and film franchises, should help boost “The Gifted” at Mipcom.
“Unlike other superhero type of shows, ‘The Gifted’ is much more broad and in many ways there are characters that are perhaps easier to identify with,” Brogi says. “We’re looking at the [show’s] universe through the lens of a family, and it’s more rooted in reality, and we think it will be easy for our clients to attract their viewers.”
Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, notes that while shows are mostly unveiled to international buyers at May’s L.A. Screenings soon after the upfronts, Mipcom offers an opportunity for sellers to update information on new programs.
“By Mipcom we usually have a couple of episodes that have aired” domestically, Schlesinger notes, “and it’s an opportunity to talk with our buyers about how the shows are doing. Maybe we’ll have the second or third episode so they’re able to get a sense of how the show is developing.”
In the one-hour space, Warner Bros. will be pitching domestic midseason shows such as “Black Lightning” and “Life Sentence,” with conversation around “Castle Rock,” a psychological horror drama featuring Stephen King characters, as well.
“It’s a show people are interested in because of the cachet of Stephen King. And the success of the movie ‘It’ is great timing,” Schlesinger says of “Castle Rock.”
Other series coming to market at Mipcom include ABC Studios’ “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” and NBCUniversal’s “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.”
“The case made headlines around the world, but we have spent a great deal of time and effort educating our clients on the importance and impact of the Menendez murder trials,” says Don McGregor, executive vice president, sales liaison with NBCUniversal Intl. Distribution. “The series condenses seven years and two sensational trials into eight action-packed hours of television.”
Greg Drebin, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, says if a show is not ready at the L.A. Screenings, Fox may offer a big unveiling at Mipcom and bring in talent. Then it’s a matter of how to market a show in other territories.
“With something like ‘The Resident,’ where the business of medicine is different in every country, we have to make sure we are being aware of and responsive to whether that is a key element to play up,” Drebin notes, adding the relationships of the characters and life-or-death dramatic decisions are more important in certain markets. “It may mirror the U.S. in its [marketing] positions, but it could be very different.”