Magazine article Variety

Series Take Red Carpet Bows

Magazine article Variety

Series Take Red Carpet Bows

Article excerpt

Television trade shows like Mip TV have become valuable springboards for high-profile drama series and the top tier of these product launches are the red-carpet screenings.

Black-tie bows at the Palais have been a feature of Mip TV and sister event Mipcom since 2010, when an episode of "Mad Men" was screened to launch season four on the international market.

This year at Mip TV, Starz will world premiere nightclub drama "Power," followed by an onstage chat with exec producer and cast member Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, lead actor Omari Hardwick and showrunner Courtney Kemp Agboh.

By launching the series at Mip TV, Starz can grab the attention of the 4,000 or so buyers at the market a month before other new U.S. shows are rolled out at the L.A. Screenings.

"It gives us the opportunity to get broadcasters to focus on our show without the distraction of the other studio product," says Gene George, exec VP, worldwide sales, Starz Worldwide Distribution.

FX's "The Americans" was another high-profile series to launch with a red-carpet screening in Cannes. The espionage drama, which premiered at Mipcom 2012, was "incredibly well received," says Marion Edwards, president, international television at Twentieth Century Fox TV Distribution. "We would love to do it again."

Edwards views Mip TV and Mipcom as the "perfect market-place to introduce cable premieres."

"The cable market has really become the home of such wonderful drama and people look for an opportunity to have that drama stand out and get the recognition it deserves," she says.

Sometimes smaller-scale private screenings are a better option. This year, Fox premiered drama series, "Tyrant," from "Homeland" creators Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, and vampire skein "The Strain," which is exec produced by Carlton Cuse and Guillermo del Toro, at the London Screenings in February. "We used that as an opportunity to stand alone," she says. Further screenings took place in Hong Kong and Sydney.

"It is not a question of what we think will screen better for a small group or a big group. It is a question of trying to get the buyers to focus solely on your shows," she says.

Another of the premiere screenings at Mip TV this year will be "The Honorable Woman," starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. The show is being repped by BBC Worldwide, which has an advantage over other distributors in that it has its own buyers' event, BBC Showcase, six weeks before Mip TV. …

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