Some 11,000 international television executives, including between 3,000 and 4,000 buyers, will attend the Mip TV market in Cannes, which kicks off this weekend.
It’s expected to rain all week and there’s the inevitable French transport strike but the organizers hope that these will not put a dampener on the event, which is going through a number of changes to ensure its relevance in an ever-changing global TV market.
Although non-scripted formats and documentaries will dominate the weekend’s agenda, this year’s event will offer an even greater focus on high-end drama. Reed Midem is working closely with the inaugural Canneseries event to bring flashy premieres to the port city and has adapted its Mip Drama screenings to focus on projects that are at an even earlier stage than usually promoted at the market.
A number of titles including Sky Vision’s Finnish terror thriller Bullets, Wiedemann & Berg’s Bridge-esque German detective drama Pagan Peak (left) and Movistar+’s Spanish drug trafficking drama Gigantes will screen short segments to buyers on Sunday 8 April ahead of completion.
Reed Midem’s Director of TV Laurine Gaurade tells Deadline that it is looking to cover the “entire ecosystem”, rather than just cater to the sale of finished programmes as was the case a few years ago. “The industry is changing very fast so it’s crucial for our clients to be able to access projects from the early stages,” she says.
This year, one of the largest delegations is from China, where nearly 300 execs from 100 companies including broadcasters Hunan TV, Jiangsu and Shanghai Media Group, SVOD services such as IQIYI and Tencent, and, strangely, three execs from regulator the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, are attending. Yang Weidong, President of Alibaba’s digital service Youku is giving a keynote speech, where he is expected to lay out the firm’s plan to partner on programming with a raft of international players.
“China is developing very fast on the international scene and Chinese executives are highly present at this Mip TV. They are creating content with the intention of exporting it and therefore working in partnership to produce content that has international reach,” adds Gaurade.
A number of Chinese producers are also in town to persuade international broadcasters that content can be created in China rather than just sold to China. 3C Media, for instance, is shopping 12-part series Words of Life, an entertainment format that features celebrities interpreting timeless true stories using 3D and CGI, while Purity Media and Houghton Media Street will also be offering new projects.
Another of the most noticeable programming trends that will likely take shape at the market is royal content ahead of Prince Harry’s marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle on May 19. A plethora of royal docs are on offer including Woodcut Media’s TCB Media Rights-distributed Modern Royals, Oxford Films’ Drive-distributed Invitation To A Royal Wedding and Fox’s Spun Gold-produced Meghan Markle: An American Princess.
Shows that might sit nicely alongside these princely titles include FremantleMedia International’s The Coronation, which marks the 65th anniversary of Harry’s grandmother’s big day and Cineflix Rights’ doc The Queen’s Green Planet (left) a one-off built around a conversation between the British monarch and Planet Earth’s David Attenborough with a little help from Angelina Jolie. On the formats front, Passion Distribution’s Where To Do, a wedding series focusing on locations, is timely.
Aside from China and the forthcoming royal nuptials, another interesting trend is the shift in tone in programming to emerge from Scandinavia. Previously known for dark, Nordic noir crime series such as Forbrydelsen (The Killing) and Bron (The Bridge), the mood appears to be lightening in northern Europe. Lead by NRK’s youth series Skam, which is being remade by Simon Fuller for Facebook, this year’s Mip will play host to shows including The Oil Fund, a comedy drama that follows the employees of the €1trillion Norwegian State Oil Fund, from The Karate Kid director Harald Zwart and distributed by France’s Wild Bunch, musical documentary series Stories From Norway, featuring Justin Bieber pranksters the Ylvis brothers, who have previously appeared on Ellen and Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show and Federation Entertainment’s innovative blind date rom-com One Night from the creative team behind Dag and Lilyhammer.
There are plenty of other buzzworthy titles on sale in Cannes (see below) as well as a number of interesting panel sessions including a Deadline-hosted session with From Dusk Til Dawn and Sin City director Robert Rodriguez, who is discussing his virtual reality action series The Limit, which is set up at STXSurreal.
However, there is still some concern that Mip TV is no longer a must-attend event. There is noticeably less starry talent in April, compared with Mipcom in October, which both has more overall attendees – generally between 13,000 and 14,000, as well as more high-profile American buyers. The event has also always historically struggled with timing, a month before the LA Screenings and before the May network pickups, and is now facing more competition from film festivals moving on to its turf, including Toronto and Berlin, as well as drama-led events such as Series Mania. However, Gaurade says, “We’re focusing on television and we’re able to put the spotlight on all of the diversity of content for television in a much more focused way than any film festival.”
While many of the Hollywood studios such as Disney and Sony Pictures do not attend in any significant way in April, there are much reduced attendances from some of the biggest independent distributors such as BBC Worldwide, and many high-profile U.S. buyers don’t make it as far as France, there are still a number of interesting companies coming to Cannes.
The SVOD services are well represented, particularly Amazon and Netflix as well as a slew of well-funded local digital operators, while feature film producers such as A24 are also attending, dipping their toes into the international television business following orders for shows such as HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Amazon’s spoof Romanian comedy Comrade Detective.
MIP TV PICKS: DRAMA
WISTING – Cast: Carrie-Anne Moss, Richie Campbell, Sven Nordin
Ten-part Nordic noir drama following a Scandinavian homicide detective who wrestles with the challenge of tracking down an American serial killer living in the region. Produced by Norway’s Cinenord and Denmark’s The Good Company, the $15M drama is based on Jørn Lier Horst’s novels and is written by The Third Eye’s Trygve Allister Diesen and Eyewitness’ Katrine Valen Zeiner. It will air on SVOD service Viaplay, TV3 Norway and German broadcaster ARD Degeto and Banijay Rights is selling internationally.
THE DAY – Cast: Sofie Decleir, Titus De Voogdt, Maaike Neuville
Belgian crime drama with a Sliding Doors-esque twist; the twelve-part series following a hostage crisis in a bank. Each episode is told from a different perspective, for instance, through the eyes of the criminals, the victims and the police negotiators. Produced by Hilde De Laere & Michiel Devlieger for Belgium’s Telenet, Dan March’s Dynamic Television, which has offices in LA, Paris and Berlin, holds international rights.
GOOD OMENS – Cast: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman
The six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s hour-long comedy has a superstar cast with Sheen as Aziraphale, an angel who works for God, and Tennant as Crowley, a demon who works on behalf of the darkness with Hamm as archangel Gabriel, the primary messenger of God and Offerman the U.S. Ambassador and father of the child Warlock. The series takes place 2018 when the Apocalypse is near and Final Judgment is set to descend upon humanity and the armies of Good and Evil are amassing. Produced by BBC Studios, Narrativia and Blank Corporation production for Amazon Studios and BBC Two, BBC Worldwide is launching at Mip TV for the first time.
CONDOR – Cast: William Hurt, Bob Balaban, Mira Sorvino, Max Irons
MGM Worldwide Television is premiering The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair at Canneseries, but it also has high global hopes for its Audience Network drama Condor, a ten-part series based on James Grady’s Six Days of the Condor book. Produced in association with Skydance TV, the series follows a young CIA analyst who is accused of gunning down his colleagues after stumbling on a deadly plan.
VANITY FAIR – Cast: Olivia Cooke, Suranne Jones, Tom Bateman, Michael Palin
British period drama is a staple of the international drama business and the latest offering is ITV’s adaptation William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel. The seven-part show, which is produced by Mammoth Screen in association with Amazon Studios, is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and follows Becky Sharp, played by Cooke, as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English society, taking her all the way to the court of King George IV. ITVSGE holds global rights.
ANONE – Cast: Suzi Hirose, Satomi Kobayashi
The story of a young girl who becomes separated from society after losing her family. After she meets an old woman, who feels the same way as she does, she moves in with the woman and discovers true love. The ten-part drama is from the team behind two of Japan’s most successful scripted formats, Mother and Woman-My Life for My Children. Nippon handling global sales of the finished drama as well as scripted format.
DAS BOOT – Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Joachin Foerster, Rainer Bock
A $30M reboot of the classic German novel and movie, the eight-part drama starts six months after the events depicted in the film with a new crew on the U612 on the verge of leaving their home port for enemy territory. The series, produced by Bavaria Fiction for Sky Deutschland, also explores what happens in La Rochelle, where the ‘resistance’ is fighting the German forces. The drama features a U-Boat that took two months to refurbish and an internal set that took 15 weeks to build for a 105 day production shoot. Sonar Entertainment are co-producing and handling international sales.
THE PIT – Cast: Aras Bulut İynemli, Dilan Çiçek Deniz Ercan Kesal
Turkish drama has been lauded in recent years for its unique stories, a number of which have been remade in the U.S. The Pit is likely to be next; a mob drama about the Koçova family, which rule Çukur, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Istanbul. However, the anti-drug crime family is torn apart after a young upstart disrupts the family, a move that fails and causes him more problems when he falls in love with a young woman. Produced by Ay Yapim for Turkey’s Show TV, Inter Medya holds global rights.
STRANGE ANGEL – Cast: Jack Reynor, Rupert Friend and Bella Heathcote
Many of the Hollywood studios don’t show up to Mip TV in April but CBS Studios International always makes an appearance. This year, it is prioritising its CBS All Access series based on George Pendle’s book. Co-produced with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free, ten-parter Strange Angel is inspired by the real-life story of Jack Parsons and explores the dramatic intersection between genius and madness, science and science fiction
DERRY GIRLS – Cast: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan
The 1990s-set Northern Irish comedy was Channel 4’s biggest sitcom hit for five years when it launched last week – beating the likes of Sharon Horgan’s Catastrophe. The six-part comedy, which follows a group of teenagers as they deal with life and love against the backdrop of the Troubles, was also the first recommissioning decision made by C4 programming boss Ian Katz when he took over at the British broadcaster. Hat Trick International holds global rights.
BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: SAN FRANCISCO – Cast: Rachel Stirling, Julie Graham
Period drama Bletchley Circle, which originally aired on ITV in the UK, was a big global seller for Kew Media Group and the distributor hopes that the U.S. spin-off, which marks BritBox’s first foray into originals, can replicate this. The drama picks up in post-war Bletchley and follows two of the characters from the original series, Mille and Jean, who travel to America in 1956 and join forces with two U.S codebreakers to tackle a strong of new murder cases.
MY BRILLIANT FRIEND – Cast: Elisa Del Genio, Ludovica Nasti
HBO must have enjoyed working with Italian production company Wildside so much that it is heading back to the country for its latest project, eight-part drama My Brilliant Friend. The series, which is based on Elena Ferrante novels, centers on the lives of Elena Greco and Rafaella Cerullo, a mysterious 60-year friendship between the two women set in Naples. FremantleMedia International holds global rights.
KEEPING FAITH – Cast: Eve Myles, Mark Lewis Jones
The eight-part series is the highest rated Welsh-language drama in 20 years and has been renewed for a second season by the BBC and S4C. Boutique financier and distributor About Premium Content, is looking to build on this with global sales of the show, which follows a lawyer-turned-detective who is investigating the disappearance of her husband. Acorn has already picked up the U.S rights of the noir thriller.
THE CRY – Cast: Jenna Coleman, Ewen Leslie
Jenna Coleman, fresh from hit ITV/PBS period drama Victoria, fronts four-part British drama The Cry, based on Helen Fitzgerald’s best-selling book. The series, produced by Synchronicity Films for BBC One, follows Coleman and Leslie as the parents of a newborn son who find themselves at the centre of an unthinkable tragedy when their baby is abducted from a sleepy coastal town in Australia. DRG is selling internationally.
NOX – Cast: Nathalie Baye, Maiwenn, Malik Zidi
French drama set in the tunnels beneath Paris that follows Catherine, played by Baye, a retired cop who is forced back into action when her daughter Julie, played by Maiwenn, also a cop, disappears. The six-part drama, which was commissioned by Canal+, is produced by Gaumont, which is co-distributing in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Latin America, with Studiocanal handling other territories.
MIP PICKS: FORMATS/NON-SCRIPTED/DOCUMENTARIES
THE SILENCE BREAKER – A hidden camera reality series that aims to expose sexual harassment in the workplace. The first #metoo reality series, the Undercover Boss-style format follows people in the workplace to tell their stories of harassment with each episode ending with a confrontation with the harasser. Gil Formats is producing and selling globally.
DATE OR DUMP – A short-form format that asks whether you can really judge a book by its cover. In each episode, which was originally produced for youth-skewing digital service Unilad, two singletons try and guess the answers to risqué questions for the chance to win money before deciding whether to date or dump. If both people choose date they share the money, however, if one chooses date and the other chooses dump, the dumpee wins the money. Created by The Million Pound Drop creator and Pointless co-creator David Flynn, The Story Lab is selling worldwide.
CRIME MASTER – True crime remains an incredibly hot genre and producer Strix is hoping that its celebrity take will offer a new spin on the crime investigation show. The format, for RTL4, follows nine celebrities who move to a remote village in Sweden to solve a murder. They must follows the clues without being sabotaged and reveal the murderer. Modern Times Group-owned DRG is looking to sign up international broadcasters for local remakes.
POLITICAL BLIND DATE – Canadian format that sees two seasoned politicians meet face-to-face and speak candidly about polarizing topics that they disagree on such as the legalization of drugs and immigration. Produced by Open Door Company and Nomad Films for TVO, the social experiment series is distributed internationally by Magnify Media.
STATE OF HATE – Another social experiment that asks whether bitter rivals can be reconciled such as nationalists against immigrants or animal activists versus hunters via a series of challenges set in a remote outdoor camp. Produced by Scandinavia’s Snowman Productions, the team that created Married At First Sight, for Denmark’s Kanal 5, the reality format is distributed by Red Arrow International
THE LAUNCH – International broadcasters are always interested in the next big North American music competition series and Sony Pictures Television hopes it will be The Launch. The series, produced in association with Taylor Swift’s record company Big Machine Label Group, series follows what it takes to break a new artist and each episode features unsigned artists auditioning for the chance to learn, record and perform a new original song, mentored by a panel of music industry figures. Originally produced by and for Canada’s Bell Media, with a number of Sony indies including Electric Ray in the UK, developing local versions.
40 DAYS WITHOUT SEX – “If it’s not Dutch, it’s not much” was a saying in the international formats world back when Big Brother creator John De Mol was ruling the roost. Distributor Lineup Industries is hoping that this still applies with its reality format that features six, young, self confessed sex addicts, whose lifestyle gets in the way of lasting relationships. They must abstain for 40 days, tracking their progress through social media. Produced for Dutch public broadcaster EO.
READY OR NOT – Hybrid gameshow that combines a hidden camera prank show with a traditional gameshow. A roving team of hosts heads out to shops, restaurants, high streets and iconic landmarks across the nation to get unsuspecting members of the public to play along. Produced by Remedy Productions for BBC One, the show airs in a Saturday shoulder peak slot. Argonon International holds international rights.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE GIANTS – Nature documentaries such as Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II sell as well as high-end dramas around the world and France TV Distribution is hoping that its monster documentary can replicate this success. The six-part doc, produced by French Connection Films for France 5, follows eight giant prehistoric animals including a 13-metre snake weighing as much as a truck, a shark as big as a school bus and a 20-ton rhinoceros.
FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK – Feature-length doc about Leonard Nimoy, directed by his son Adam Nimoy (NYPD Blue, Gilmore Girls). The film will share details about the legendary Star Trek character and the ups and downs of being the son of a TV icon. Includes never-before-seen footage and interviews with the likes of William Shatner, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, JJ Abrams and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Red Arrow International is selling worldwide ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
BUILDING ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER – Fresh from a spat with U.S. President and former Apprentice host Donald Trump, producers Petit Dragon and Elephant Doc spotlight the career of the Terminator star, from post-war Europe through to becoming a Hollywood A-lister and governor of California. France’s Arte Sales is selling globally.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.