Some 14,000 international TV executives, including around 5,000 buyers from over 100 countries, will be cruising down the Croisette in Cannes this weekend for the annual Mipcom market.
The sun is set to shine in the south of France and the major international distributors, including the Hollywood studios, will hope this helps shift their latest high-end dramas and non-scripted entertainment formats.
The Americans will be back in town, having largely given Mip TV in April a miss, with high-profile buyers from the FAANGs joining traditional buyers from the broadcast networks and cable stations. The likes of Apple’s Morgan Wandell, Hulu’s Craig Erwich, Amazon’s CJ Yu and Euro chief Georgia Brown, Facebook’s Toby Faulkner and Mina Lefevre and YouTube’s Luke Hyams are expected to be joined by Fox’s Rob Wade and teams from Bravo, FX, A+E Networks, Nat Geo and Discovery.
Hollywood talent chief Ari Emanuel will be giving a keynote at the event as well as keeping an eye on Endeavor Content’s sales efforts for shows such as The Little Drummer Girl and Sean Penn’s The First, alongside ITV CEO Carolyn McCall, who it seems will not be announcing a deal to acquire British commercial broadcaster’s acquisition of Endemol Shine.
There will be much talk in Cannes about how the merger of Disney and 21st Century Fox will affect the two companies’ global sales teams and similarly whether Comcast’s purchase of Sky will see NBC Universal’s sales function brought together with Jane Millichip’s Sky Vision.
There will be no shortage of A-list onscreen talent parading around the Palais; Sean Bean and Billy Zane will be promoting the latter’s Fast and Furious-style drama Curfew, Insecure star Issa Rae is giving a keynote speech, Richard Gere is in town to talk about BBC drama MotherFatherSon, Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen will be shopping A+E Networks’ Project Blue Book, The Wire and The Affair star Dominic West will be on the French Riviera to pick up a Canneseries Excellence award and Victoria star Jenna Coleman will be breaking down her baby kidnap thriller The Cry.
Elsewhere, Audrey Morrissey, Dave Stewart and Ryan Tedder are expected to give a live performance to promote NBC music format Songland and the international casts of breakout reality series Love Island, including Megan and Wes from the UK version, will be flirting with buyers (Deadline is also hosting a panel session on the ITV Studios format on Tuesday afternoon).
Ben Stiller is hosting the world premiere of his Showtime prison break drama Escape at Dannemora at the market, a move that CBS Studios International hopes will help drum up business for the Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Arquette and Paul Dano-fronted series.
The fully stocked studio delegations definitely makes a difference to the October market feeling busier than its April equivalent; Warner Bros will be hosting guests on its beachside jetty and will be looking to take advantage of the strong early performance of its mystery thriller Manifest to plug any sales holes for the disappearing plane drama. The studios do use October as another opportunity to sell their LA Screenings titles. Sony Pictures Television will be looking to give LA’s Finest the full sales pitch; the Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union-fronted cop drama was screened in May to buyers and was picked up by Charter Communications, after NBC opted not to pick it up, until June.
The Culver City company is also heading Into The Dark (left) with Blumhouse’s Hulu horror anthology; the 12-part feature length series could frighten some buyers into getting out their checkbooks following the success of Get Out. ITV Studios is also shopping a Blumhouse title – YouTube’s Christmas-themed horror 12 Deadly Secrets, alongside its more traditional titles such as The War of the Worlds and West of Liberty. MGM is proposing deals for its Mindy Kaling-penned remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Russia may be in the news for all the wrong reasons right now when it comes to murder, spying and election hacking. But it is coincidentally one of the territories to watch out for in terms of drama production; Beta Films’ Trigger and Cineflix International’s An Ordinary Woman are two of the hottest non-English language titles to look out for.
Trigger, which is the market’s opening night screening, is produced by Sreda Production for Channel One Russia. The 16-part drama, written by Andrey Zolotarev and Leo Murzenko, directed by Dmitry Turin, and starring Maxim Matveev, Roman Mayakin, Svetlana Ivanova, follows a psychologist who practices provocative therapy, a cure for patients by confronting them with their fears, but is sent to prison when a patient apparently commits suicide. Gomorrah distributor Beta believes it will sell well around the world, with EVP International Sales and Acquisitions Christian Gockel saying it has “everything that high-end drama requires,” adding, “We are sure the outstanding quality and international look of Trigger will spark a bond with a wide range of viewers worldwide.”
Similarly, Cineflix Rights has high hopes for eight-part drama An Ordinary Woman, which stars Anna Mikhalkova and Evgeniy Grishkovets and was created by Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov. The series was produced by Look Film for TV3 Russia and tells story of a 39-year old woman who appears to be a florist but actually runs a prostitution ring via Whatsapp, whose carefully constructed house of cards begins to collapse when one of her girls is found dead in a hotel room. Chris Bonney, boss of Marcella distributor Cineflix Rights, said the show “promises to be a breakout Russian drama for international audiences”
While not produced specifically for the Russian market, Studiocanal’s Moscow Noir also features the dark, corrupt and violent world of Russian oligarchs and their private armies at the turn of the 21st century. The eight-hour drama, which is produced by Black Spark Film & TV for Scandinavia’s TV4/CMore and Poland’s NC+, is based on the books by Swedish authors Camilla Grebe and Paul Leander-Engström and is shot in English, Swedish and Russian.
Russia won’t be the only territory to cause a stir in Cannes with plenty of British and European dramas, high-end nature docs and wacky reality entertainment formats on offer at the market (see below).
MIPCOM PICKS: DRAMA
GIGANTES – Cast: Jose Coronado, Isak Ferriz, Daniel Grao
Spanish drama is going through a renaissance, helped by Movistar+’s funding and the pay-TV broadcaster’s latest project is the story of fraternal love and hate. Set in the criminal underworld in Madrid, it follows the Guerrero brothers have controlled the drug traffic on the Iberian Peninsula under the harsh direction of their father, Abraham, who raised them like wolves. Produced by Lazona Producciones and Telefonica Studios, the six-part series is written by Michel Gaztambide, Miguel Barros and Enrique Urbizu, with the La Vida Mancha helmer also directing. He said, “It’s a criminal saga, but somewhat sui generis in its way of approaching the subject, which is not original – family and crime, from Shakespeare to The Godfather. It does not have anything to do with action movies, it is not a crime, it is not a thriller, it is not just a melodrama, it is not about drugs nor a trafficker show. It is about people that are very lonely that are trying to destroy each other.” About Premium Content is launching the show, which has already been commissioned for a second season in Spain, at Mipcom, looking for finished sales and scripted format deals.
THE PIER – Cast: Irene Arcos, Verónica Sánchez, Álvaro Morte
Created by and starring the team behind Netflix’s breakout Spanish drama Money Heist, including Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato and star Morte, The Pier tells the story of a high-profile architect who gets a call to identify her husband’s body found on a pier, only to find out her husband had been leading a double life for 15 years. Produced by Pina’s Vancouver Media and Atresmedia Studios for Spanish pay-TV broadcaster Movistar+, it is being rolled out internationally by Gomorrah distributor Beta Films, whose EVP Christian Gockel said it would succeed worldwide as a result of its storyline and “breath-taking” visuals.
CHEAT – Cast: Katherine Kelly, Molly Windsor
Cheat is the new Liar, the Ioan Gruffudd and Joanne Froggatt rape drama that scored huge ratings for ITV last year. A four-part drama, produced by Fleabag and The Missing producer Two Brothers Pictures, it is written by newcomer Gaby Hull for ITV and AMC Network’s SVOD platform Sundance Now. In the psychological thriller, Kelly plays university professor Leah, who starts a dangerous relationship with her student Rose, played by Windsor, and is thrust into a case of academic deception, which has fatal consequences. Hull said the show will “explore our closest relationships and how they construct and deconstruct our characters in the most fundamental, exciting and extreme ways”. All3Media International is launching in Cannes with CEO Louise Pedersen calling it a “fabulously taut thriller – pivoting around the relationship between two strong but complicated women”.
HIDDEN – Cast: August Wittgenstein, Izabella Scorupco
Goldeneye star Izabella Scorupco is leading the line in this dark urban fantasy thriller from Yellow Bird, the producers of Occupied and Millennium. Nothing is quite what it seems in Hidden, where dark secrets, unsuspected identities and supernatural forces converge against the captivating backdrop of modern day Sweden. The show, which was written by Jonathan Sjöberg, Björn Paqualin, Anoo Bhagava, blends the paranormal with psychological drama and draws from Scandinavian culture and Nordic myths, slightly different from your run-of-the-mill Nordic noir crime drama. The eight-part series is directed by Sjöberg, David Berron, Daniel Di Grado, for Viaplay and TV3 and is being shopped by 10th birthday celebrating distributor Banijay International.
EIGHT DAYS – Cast: Christiane Paul, Mark Waschke, Lena Klenke
What would you do if you had eight days left to live as a 40km wide meteor was racing towards Earth? That’s the premise of German drama Eight Days, which tells the story of how Europe is set to be wiped out and is on the run and people are doing all the drugs they want, having unprotected sex and shopping with no money. Written by Rafael Parente, Peter Kocyla and Benjamin Seiler, it is exec produced by Babylon Berlin pair Marcus Ammon and Frank Jastfelder for Sky Deutschland. Set to launch in 2019, the eight-part drama is being touted by Sky Vision in Cannes, which for some feels like the end of the world already.
EUPHORIA – Cast: Roni Dalumi, Dekel Adin, Amit Erez
HBO may have picked up a Drake-produced, A24-produced adaptation of young adult format Euphoria, written by The Wizard of Lies’ Sam Levinson earlier this summer, but the original Israeli format is heading to Cannes in search of more international deals. The Kids-meets-Trainspotting format revolves around the story of drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship as told by a lying, drug-addicted 17-year-old girl named Rue. The original 10-episode series was created by In Treatment’s Ron Leshem, Daphna Levin and Tmira Yardeni and produced by Teddy Productions for cable network HOT3, It was based on the true story of a teenager who was murdered outside a club. Israeli distributor ADD is shopping the series at Mipcom.
MATRIMONIAL CHAOS – Cast: Cha Tae-hyun, Bae Doona, Lee El
The success of The Good Doctor has meant that all eyes are on South Korea for the next scripted format that could breakout and be remade in the U.S. Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) has high hopes that romantic comedy Matrimonial Chaos, otherwise known locally as The Best Divorce, could be the next big export. Written by Moon Jung-min and directed by Yoo Hykun-ki, the show follows a couple who divorce but cannot reveal this to their parents so they continue to live together. However, after they become divorced strangers, they fall back in love and try and rekindle their relationship. Based on a 2013 format from Japan’s Fuji TV, it stars Cloud Atlas and Sense8 star Doona. KBS is hosting a screening at Mipcom on October 16.
WAY TOO KAWAII – Cast: Yudai Chiba, Aimi Satsukawa, Kinakp Kobayashi
Can a Japanese comedy drama breakout of Asia and go global? That’s the question that Nippon TV will be asking during the world premiere screening of Way Too Kawaii, a millennial fashion drama. The ten-part drama, which is Kozue Osaki’s novel Pretty Ga Osugiru, tells the story of Nankichi, who works for a mega-publishing company and is the star of the literary department, before finding himself unexpectedly transferred to a fashion magazine. From now on, it’s all 20-denier tights, frilly skirts, rainbow spaghetti, and bubble tea, as he struggles to find his way in this new world dominated by strong-willed women. But as he witnesses the professionalism of the models and stylists, he gradually becomes inspired by his new job, and even romance blossoms. The series’ aesthetic is driven by kawaii, the candy-coloured cuteness. Written by Shuko Arai and Mako Watanabe, directed by Mitsuru Kubota, and produced by Arisa Mori, the show airs on Nippon and Hulu Japan. Mori said he hopes to “pique the interest of buyers the world over”.
STHLM REQUIEM – Cast: Live Mjönes, Alexey Manvelow
Germany’s ZDF Enterprises has done well over the years with a slate of Scandinavian crime dramas such as The Killing and The Bridge. It is now expecting Kristina Ohlsson’s STHLM Requiem to capture international buyers’ same dark imaginations. The series, which is based on Kristina Ohlsson’s trilogy of best-selling novels, is is set in the shadows of Stockholm, world of by raw violence and bottomless depravity. Directed by Karin Fahlén, it follows Fredrika Bergman, an unconventional new recruit to the special investigations unit. The drama, which is available as either five or ten episodes, is produced by Black Spark Film & TV and Kärnfilm in association with Nice Drama for TV4, C-More and ZDF.
BREXIT – Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Kinnear, John Hefferman
Where the United States has President Donald Trump, the United Kingdom has Brexit. Sherlock and Patrick Melrose star Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the leading strategist and Campaign Director of Vote Leave, in the one-off drama, written by James Graham, best known for political plays such as The Vote and Ink. Directed by Black Mirror’s Toby Haynes, the drama will unpack the anatomy of the historic, high-stakes campaign to win the hearts and minds of the British people. BBC Worldwide, which is selling the two-hour special, produced by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell’s House Productions, will be hoping that Cumberbatch’s hairline doesn’t put off buyers.
MIPCOM PICKS: FORMATS/NON-SCRIPTED/DOCUMENTARIES
Sir David Attenborough is back with a new five-part blue-chip documentary series, this time looking at dynastic power struggles and family treachery in the animal kingdom. Each episode of the doc series follows an individual animal – lions, hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers, and emperor penguins – at the most critical period in their lives. Exec producer Mike Gunton said that it showed an even more “intense and gripping” perspective on animal life than Planet Earth. The series, which will air later this year, is a co-production by the BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit for BBC One, BBC America, China’s Tencent and France Télévisions. BBC Studios is hunting down sales in Cannes and will hope that it can replicate the global success of Planet Earth and Blue Planet. The distributor will also be talking about Serengeti, which looks at savannah animals over one year. The series is produced by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and John Downer Productions in association with BBC Studios.
MAGICAL LAND OF OZ
Not to be outdone by its British rival, ITV Studios Global Entertainment is getting in on the natural history action with this three-part series set down under. Produced by Oxford Scientific Films and Northern Pictures for the BBC, Australia’s ABC and U.S. public broadcaster PBS, the doc looks at Australia as it has never been seen before. It features acrobatic crocodiles and tree climbing birds, to fish that cross roads and spiders who dance like peacocks.
I’LL GET THIS
ITV’s international division is also confident of cooking up deals with its latest entertainment format. The business has previously had huge international success with Come Dine With Me, a relatively low-budget food format featuring regular people. If it can find the same level with I’ll Get This, bosses will be content. The show, which is produced by Eggheads indie 12 Yard Productions for the BBC, the gameshow features no studio, no winner, no prizes and no presenter. Instead, it features five celebrities, who dine at a top restaurant, playing games and engaging in entertaining chat with the loser paying the bill at the end of the night. Think credit card roulette with stars.
Think Married At First Sight-meets-Wife Swap, this vicious format follows couples who have been engaged for years but never made the leap to marriage. The show gives them the opportunity to trade in their other half and head to an on-site church with their new flame to tie the knot. The show is produced by Alaska TV, the indie behind Fishing Impossible and I Don’t Like Mondays, whose Creative Director Ian Lamarra said it’s “so cruel that it’s cool”. The company is working with U.S. talent agency CAA to strike international deals with a focus on U.S. broadcasters. The producer is also talking about For Richer, For Poorer, a love-match show based on Lady and the Tramp that is currently being eyed by Viacom’s Channel 5.
HOUSE OF TALENT
When John De Mol has a new format, international buyers take note. The creator of The Voice and Big Brother is back with House of Talent, a daily format that targets young audiences by mixing music and reality television with social media. The show, which launched over the summer on Holland’s SBS6, features a group of musical artists from various genres live together as they attempt to make it big in the music business. The musicians must build up a fanbase, perform throughout the country and release a new track, every six weeks. Two professional managers will guide them every step of the way and take care of bookings and promotion. If the artists don’t make enough money or generate enough engagement in each six week period, they will be nominated for elimination. In Holland, it has performed well with young audiences in its first six-week cycle and De Mol has already been talking to broadcasters in some of the larger markets such as the UK and U.S. about remakes.
THE TALENT PROJECT
Endemol Shine has found recent international success with entertainment formats such as BBC’s All Together Now and LeBron James-produced The Wall. It is now hoping that Dutch format The Talent Project can follow this. The show, which launches on RTL4 this fall, follows new talent, offering them an intensive 100 day training at The Talent Project Academy. There the hopefuls work to improve themselves, under the wings of a variety of coaches before going up against each other in studio-based audition. The twist? There’s a new visual element, a two-minute time lapse of their training is shown.
THE DIVA IN ME
The success of RuPaul’s Drag Race has encouraged a number of broadcasters around the world that they need to find their own drag-inspired hit to appeal to an open minded youth crowd. NBC Universal International Formats believes that Brazilian format Drag Me As A Queen, produced by Movioca for E! Brazil, is just the ticket. The show, which is being renamed The Diva In Me internationally, is a transformation format that sees three drag queens – Penelopy Jean, Rita Von Hunty and Ikaro Kadoshi – help empower a group of women and unleash their inner divas. In each episode, they will embark on a personal journey with the women to discover their hopes, dreams and aspirations to help them boost their self-confidence. Each episode culminates with a special performance, as the women take to the stage and perform in front of their families and friends, bringing their inner divas to life for the first time.
A property format that follows three siblings or close family friends who compete to choose the perfect new home for their parents. The contestants can either listen to their parents wishes or find a house to fit their own relocation agenda. Can be produced as self-contained episodes or as a daily strip. Originally produced by Stellify Media for Irish broadcaster RTE, it is being sold internationally by Dutch distributor Lineup Industries, marking the first time Sony Pictures Television has partnered with an external sales agent on a new format launch.
Drug traffickers are being forced to find ever more elaborate ways of transporting their illegal cargo under the radar; from speedboats and mini- submarines, to exotic cars and light aircraft. But when the smugglers get caught what happens next? That’s where Pirates Inc step in. These are real-life specialists in retrieving high-value items from anywhere in the world, operating on just the right side of the law. This group, which includes veteran cop Tony, aviation expert Kelly and ex-military pilot Andy, is now the subject of a factual entertainment format being shopped to global buyers. Produced by NV Studios, which has offices in South Africa and the U.S., it is being distributed by Red Arrow International, which is launching the show in Cannes.
French-speaking Canada isn’t the first place you think of when considering Warner Bros’ large library of non-scripted entertainment hits. However, the Hollywood studio has high hopes for the international roll out of 1res Fois (First Times). The show, which is produced by KO TV for Quebec station Radio-Canada, is a talkshow/variety show in which local celebrities discuss the first time that something has happened to them. Each week, two well-known and beloved public figures are invited to a television event that prompts, reunions, surprises and unique moments. Elsewhere, on the studio’s format slate is Ellen’s Game of Games, which is picking up global steam, British format The Big Audition and ABC’s dating show The Proposal.