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Hot PR in rainy Cannes

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04 October 2010

Day one: Mipcom has only been running a few hours, but already Televisual’s inbox has been deluged with press releases that breathlessly announce the latest ‘high profile deals’, ‘exciting new commissions’ and ‘highly anticipated series’ from ‘world leading producers’.

To save you wading through story after story about Mipcom deals, here’s a digest of those announced so far. A quick note: most of these deals were signed long before Mipcom, so say little about how the market is playing out so far. But, talking to producers and distributors here in Cannes, one gets the sense that they are pretty upbeat about prospects.

Meanwhile, for those of you not down in Cannes, you’ll be glad to know that is raining and very windy.

- Endemol, which routinely bills itself as ‘a world leader in entertainment programming’ in its press releases, has sold its US comedy series Hot in Cleveland to BSkyB. Produced by TV Land, it’s about three best friends from L.A. discover that they are hot in Cleveland - and decide to stay.

- The Walt Disney Company has sold new family drama series No Ordinary Family to UKTV’s Watch. About a family that develops super-powers, it premiered in the US on ABC on 28 September. Naturally, No Ordinary Family is a ‘highly anticipated series’, according to Disney.

- Nickelodeon and Chorion have teamed to develop and produce a new animated pre-school series based on Beatrix Potter’s The Tales of Peter Rabbit. Set to air in 2012, the series will feature Potter characters such as Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. Nickolodeon is, of course, ‘the number-one entertainment brand for kids.’

- ITV Studios announced a raft of new local productions in Ireland, Iran and Cyprus for its ‘phenomenally successful format’ Come Dine With Me – which is now made for 30 countries. Ireland’s TV3 has ordered 30 local episodes, which will be produced by ITV Studios in Ireland. Cyprus’ CYBC has signed 65 episodes. And new Iranian broadcaster Marjan Television has licensed 30 episodes which will be produced in the UK by Manoto 1 and feature Iranian diners and will then broadcast throughout Iran.

- FremantleMedia, which likes to describe itself on press releases as “one of the largest creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world”, launched its Mipcom 2010 slate. This included casting format My Name Is...(pictured above), and game shows Total Blackout and Face It. The most eyecatching show on its slate, however, was You Can’t Take It With You which is being made by TalkbackThames for BBC2. According to Fremantle, it “tackles head on the often unaddressed problems of dividing an estate and writing a will.” Billed as an emotional journey, it sees families decide who gets what, and why. The show is fronted - and mediated by - Gerry Robinson (Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?)

- Discovery Channel is looking to top the UK’s landmark Walking with Dinosaurs series with its own prehistoric commission, Reign of the Dinosaurs, a six part series that – so we are told - “combines the latest paleontological research with Hollywood storytelling, combined with the talent of the world's best illustrators and animators.” Discovery’s sales arm is launching the title here and seeking international pre-sale. Reign of the Dinosaurs is being produced for Discovery Channel by US-based Creative Differences.

- Wipeout, a ‘global hit’ created by Endemol USA, has been commissioned for a ten episode pan-regional version by TVN in Poland, Nova TV in the Czech Republic, Markiza TV in Slovakia, Inter Channel in Ukraine and ONT in Belarus. The series will see contestants from all five territories battling it out across the show’s extreme obstacle course and will be filmed at Wipeout’s global production hub in Argentina.

- Shooting on the Euros 25m twelve-part series Borgia, produced by Atlantique Production/EOS and Canal +, begins today in Prague. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall), it stars John Doman (ER, The Wire) as Rodrigo Borgia. The writer and producer of the series is Tom Fontana (Oz/HBO, Homicide/NBC). Beta Film is handling international sales of the English-language production.

- Last, but certainly not least, Red, “a company dedicated to raising awareness about Aids,” has partnered with HBO to create a 30 minute Spike Jonze documentary which records the life-restoring effects of Anti-retroviral drugs on four HIV-positive individuals from Lusaka, Zambia. Admirably, the documentary is being given away to broadcasters for FREE at this year’s Mipcom for them to broadcast on World Aids Day – 1st of December.

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