By Tuesday at 10 am Miami time, in one of Natpe most extensive presentations, Brazil’s Globo, Latin America’s biggest broadcast network, will have talked up one of the weightiest line-ups of any international company at this year’s TV trade fair.
Led by “The Edge of Desire,” written by Gloria Perez, the reigning queen of Brazilian’s TV creators, the series represent the current flagships of the Latin American broadcaster which has arguably fared best in recent audience results as it faces off with ever-increased competition from both digital platforms and the rapidly ramping production slates of established U.S. players – Turner, Fox, HBO Latin America, Sony, to name just a few – and is now angling to become a production partner of international dramas.
The presentation comes two months after Globo Group director Roberto Marinho Neto and Globo CEO Carlos Henrique Schroder gave a presentation on Nov. 19 on the eve of the Intl. Emmy Awards, where Globo had six nominations. In it, they stressed that Globo was open to collaborate on international productions.
“There is no one single fixed model: Globo can bring to the table its know-how, expertise, production prowess or other resources,” Raphael Correa, Globo executive director of international business, said in the run-up to Natpe.
Globo’s 2017 audience figures, even by U.S. network standards, are humungous. Written by Perez (“The Clone,” “India – a Love Story”), and a flagship of its Natpe telenovela line-up, overseen by Silvio de Abreu, chief content officer for daily fiction and super series, “Edge of Desire” bowed April 3 to an average 48 million reach and a 70% audience share for its final Oct. 20 episode.
Underfunded public hospital-set “Under Pressure,” aired in a 10.30 pm late prime time, averaging 40.2 million, the biggest for its time slot since 2012. “The Other Side of Paradise,” which replaced “The Edge of Desire” has an average reach of 44.9 million.
Globo, like but arguably less than many other broadcast networks, has seen audiences pared this decade, by 2015 losing 15% of its peak free-to-air audience to pay TV (where it also has a strong presence), according to an IHS Markit estimation. But in 2017, driven by its whole schedule, Globo had its biggest free TV audience reach – individuals viewing at least one minute of programming on its free-to-air Globo channel – in the last six years, said Correa.
The common denominator in Globo series shown at Natpe is their diversity, in setting, series type, tone, characters, and potential audience: From a fast-paced contempo social fresco recounting the price of passion (“Edge of Desire”), to a bumpkin period comedy inspired by Voltaire’s “Candide” (“The Good Side of Life!”), a sci-fi love triangle (“The Formula”), romantic heist comedy “The Big Catch,” and a girls-power drama (“Young Hearts: Embrace Diversity”).
The Natpe spread also showcases two gritty – and highly successful – social realist slice-of-life thrillers (“Jailers,” “Under Pressure”), shepherded by Guel Arraes, Globo’s chief content officer for series.
In styles, the Emmy-nominated “Old River,” a riverside-set Romeo and Juliet-style love story, begins like an Italian neo-realist film with archive footage-style shots of washer-women bathing in a river; “The Formula” has the primal colors, classic shot-counter-shot and rapid repartee of modern-day screwball comedy.
Globo production revolves round four principles: Diversity, Innovation, Quality and Volume, said Correa, who points out that Globo has evolved from being known as a telenovela producer to a content creator and producer that now fires, in fiction terms, on four cylinders: Telenovelas, shorter super series (such as the 70-seg “Dark Days”), multi-season drama series (“Jailers.” with just 13 episodes) and one-off mini-series, such as the four-part “The Wise Ones,” directed by “City of God’s” Fernando Meirelles, featuring four independent tales with over-70 protagonists.
The innovation is part driven by a generational renewal of Globo lead series screenwriters. Correa cites 17 new screenwriters who have broken through as lead writers on 13 Globo fictions aired over the last 18 months.
Some come from cinema. Co-produced with Conspiraçao Filmes, which straddles film and TV, “Under Pressure,” was co-created and co-directed by Andrucha Waddington, a celebrated cineaste. That tells. In ER scenes, the camera dances around the
operating table, cutting in whiplash fashion, adopting multiple angles on the operation, and the often contrasting reactions of the operating doctors.
As Globo produces short-form series, these open up opportunities for collaboration with film companies looking to move ever more into TV and bring their filmmaking expertise with them. Also on Globo’s Natpe slate, “Jailers,” a MipDrama Screenings winner last year, was produced with Gullane Filmes, which has backed recent movies such as 2016 Sundance winner “Second Mother” and 2017 Berlinale hit “Just Like Our Parents.”
Notably, given fiction is the jewel in Globo’s crown, most of this new creative generation is made up of women. Some of their series have just been presented at Natpe. Set in dictatorship ‘70s Brazil, “Dark Days,” an across-the-political-tracks tale of love torn asunder by hostile families, marks the first screenplay, for example, as lead writers of Angela Chaves and Alessandra Poggi. Also at Natpe, “Rock Story,” a rock music laced second chance at love drama is the first screenplay as lead writer of Maria Helena Nascimiento.
There has been no increase in the number of fiction hours Globo produces. But the multiplicity of shorter-format super, drama and mini series makes for more opportunities for innovation, Correa said.
He pointed to Globo’s schedule over Jan.8-14, which saw the bow of both “13 Days Away From the Sun,” a 10-seg high-rise collapse survival drama-thriller made with Fernando Meirelles’ O2 Filmes; and “God Save the King,” Globo’s first medieval telenovela, and the lead writer debut of Daniel Adjafre who, like many new writers, has worked himself up the ranks, serving for a decade-or-so in writing teams, and is now breaking through to telenovela lead-writer status.
“We’re open to new ideas, new talents, new co-productions, to create new experiences for our viewers,” Correa said, praising Monica Albuquerque, Globo artistic development director “who has worked in two directions to develop both ideas and talent.”
In other moves, Correa said that Globo storytelling is now faster-paced, which is part of its drive to be “even more contemporaneous and relevant.”
No Globo series illustrates that better perhaps than “Edge of Desire” which takes on a fast-paced epic sweep as two young boys are literally swept away by a river, then rescued by a shaman, grow up to become 15 years later rivals for the love of a freedom-loving riverside village woman. And all that happens in the first two episodes as just one plot in a multi character-driven story which deals with highly serious hot-button issues: Trans-gender transition; a sense of entitlement; sexism; the economic pressures on lower-income families.
GLOBO SERIES PRESENTED AT NATPE 2018:
“Edge of Desire,” (160 x 1 hour)
“Old River,” (60 x 1 hour)
“The Good Side of Life!,” (135 x 1 hour)
“The Big Catch,” (130 x 1 hour)
“Young Hearts: Embrace Diversity,” (120 x 1 hour)
“Rock Story,” (135 x 1 hour)
“Dark Days,” (70 x 1hr*)
“The Wise Ones,” (4 x 1 hour, Globo, O2)
“The Formula,” (8 x 1 hour)
“Under Pressure,” (9 x 1 hour, 4K, Globo, Conspiração)
“Jailers,” (13 x 30 min, Globo, Gullane, Spray Filmes)