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Stars hit Cannes as deals flow

07 October 2010

Mipcom day three: From Robert Redford through to Mad Men’s Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Kiss front man Gene Simmons, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Lucas and Stephen Fry, there’s been an unusually large number of TV, film and music stars flying into Mipcom this week to promote their latest ventures. Veteran broadcaster Sir David Frost even flew in to interview Oliver Stone about his new project, The Untold History of the United States.

Not all the stars, however, were happy to be in the south of France. Stephen Fry, here to talk up his new series on the English language, tweeted mid-way through the market that he was “stuck in Cannes in arse-paralysingly dull meetings.”

Within the Palais itself, many others were probably thinking the same thing: one could sense buyers and sellers' energy levels starting to flag by the end of Wednesday after long days of deal-making and long nights of eating and drinking.

However, most sellers were still expressing optimism about how the market was going, saying that it had picked up decidedly since last year.

All3Media chief executive Louise Pedersen commented: “We are very positive about the state of the market - there is a lot of strong interest in shows across our catalogue and buyers seem to have the budgets to acquire across all genres - with drama, formats and factual entertainment being in demand.” She added that growth in DTT and IPTV channels had increased the demand for new programmes.

That said, many of the deals being announced were of the bread and butter kind that help fill schedules. Many buyers complained there was not enough ‘stand out’ new programming at the market, partly because the recession has meant less projects going into production.

In the meantime, here’s a round-up of the latest deals:

- Channel 4 acquired Arthurian tale Camelot from GK-tv, and plans to launch the series in 2011. The series stars Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Eva Green as Morgan, and Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere. Camelot is a co-production between Ireland’s Octagon and Take 5 Productions in Canada, and is executive produced by Ecosse Films’ Douglas Rae. Graham King (The Departed) along with Tim Headington and Craig Cegielski also executive produce. Other international buyers include RTL (Netherlands), DBS (Israel) and Sony Pictures Television’s AXN Beyond (Pan-Asia).

- Living in the UK has picked up Customs Series 3 (12 x 30-mins) from Electric Sky. Made by Favourite Films for Nine Network, Australia, it follows the work of Border Agency sniffer-dogs and their handlers. Customs Series 3 will be renamed as Nothing to Declare for Living.

- BBC Worldwide struck a raft of deals in Russia. It sold Spooks to Fox Television, which will see the spy drama broadcast across the CIS and Baltic states. Fox TV also acquired ITV romantic comedy Married, Single Other and thriller Silent Witness. Meanwhile, Russia’s Channel Five acquired Sherlock and 225 hours of mixed genre programming; Russia’s Kultura channel has picked up 84 hours of programming including History of Science, Wonders of the Solar System, Lennon Naked and Muddle Earth; And Slovak TV (Slovakia) bought a 52 hour package including Life and The Human Planet.

- DRG sold Don’t Tell The Bride, created by Renegade Pictures for BBC Three, to multiple European territories. Sales include RTL (Netherlands), TV4 (Sweden), Nelonen (Finland), TV2 (Denmark), TV2 (Hungary) and BBC Worldwide Channels which has acquired the series for BBC Entertainment in Latin America and BBC Lifestyle in Africa.The Don’t Tell the Bride format was also sold to ANT1 TV in Greece, where it will be produced by Studio Ata. Don’t Tell The Bride is now being produced locally in seven countries worldwide.

- BBC Worldwide sold 26 hours of content from the BBC’s Natural History Unit to Australia’s Nine Network. The deal includes the pre-sale of Frozen Planet to Channel Nine. Other natural history content will air on Nine’s new digital platform GEM, including Wild South America: Andes to Amazon, Wild Caribbean, and David Attenborough’s 10-part series Life of Mammals.

- Electric Sky sold a package of male skewed titles to Sweden’s Viasat including Miles to Surf (1 x 50') by Troy Frizzell Productions in Conjunction With Major Surf Corp; Supercar Run Featuring Jodie Kidd (1 x 47’) by Camera CHY Productions, Total Adventure (26 x 30') by Creative Touch Films Production for National Geographic, Finding Genghis (6 x 30’) by Cambridge Film and Television Productions for National Geographic, and The Fatal Eleven (1 x 44’) by German producer ColourFIELD on behalf of WDR for ARD. Electric Sky also sold titles to the Living Channel in New Zealand, including A Place in the Sun Down Under (3 x 60’) and A Million Pound Place in the Sun. Both series are produced by Freeform for Channel Four

- Discovery Communications announced new programming deals with European third party broadcasters to air 200 hours of its content. France broadcaster TF1’s free digital terrestrial channels NT1 and TMC will air the latest seasons of Deadliest Catch and Man vs. Wild. Italy’s RTI-Mediaset Group picked up fact ent shows including Man vs. Wild, I Was Bitten and Untamed and Uncut to air on Italia Uno in the network’s “Wild” primetime slot. Spain’s La Sexta acquired Next World, Destroyed in Seconds or Prototype This!. In addition, Spanish broadcaster Cuatro has acquired season 4 of Man vs. Wild and Not Your Average Travel Guide. Greek broadcaster Alpha TV bought Nostradmus, The Flight that Fought Back and Last Mysteries of the Titanic.

- Off The Fence (OTF) sold over 500 hours to leading African broadcasters. Over 370 hours of programming was sold to Wananchi Programming for their new Zuku Afrika and Zuku Life channels launching this month in East Africa. Wananchi bought a range of titles including The Locator (44x30’), Amazing Wedding Cakes (33x60’), Magnificent Obsessions (48x30’), Stories from the Vaults (14x26’), Equator (6x50’), Most Extreme Series One and Two (26x60’), Shamwari – A Wildlife (26x26’) and Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World (1x50’). Namibia Broadcasting Corporation bought 50 hours of programming for their free to air channel including Shamwari (26x26’), Extinction Sucks (6x30’), Nature’s Greatest Moments (158x5’), Man Made Marvels Series One (6x60’) and Sharkville (1x50’). South African broadcaster On Digital Media picked up 39 hours in a deal for TOP TV, including Magnificent Obsessions (48x30’) and Reservations Required (30x30’).

- BBC Worldwide licensed 27 classic television titles to Australian free-to-air digital channel 7TWO, in a deal that delivers over 500 hours of content, including Are you Being Served?, The Good Life, To the Manor Born and Keeping up Appearances. Jonathan Creek, All Creatures Great and Small, Born and Bred, Bargain Hunt, The Hairy Bikers Cookbook and James Martin’s Favourite Feasts are included in the deal.

- BBC Worldwide also sold 26 hours of content from the BBC’s Natural History Unit to Australia’s Nine Network. The deal includes the pre-sale of Frozen Planet to Channel Nine. Other natural history content will air on Nine’s new digital platform GEM, including Wild South America: Andes to Amazon, Wild Caribbean, and David Attenborough’s 10-part series Life of Mammals.

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