Magazine article Variety

Ex-Pugilist Lends New Punch to Small-Screen Fest

Magazine article Variety

Ex-Pugilist Lends New Punch to Small-Screen Fest

Article excerpt

The Monte Carlo Television Festival isn't quite as old as the medium itself, but 2016 represents the fest's 56th edition.

A man that age might be slowing down. Yet under the leadership of Laurent Puons, an energetic, plugged-in Monaco native and former professional boxer, the fest is showing no signs of aging.

Although he's fairly new to the TV world, Puons has conquered many challenges during his four years in charge.

One successful shift: He's revamped the festival's image by giving the competition a greater edge and relevance. As part of that strategy, Puons decided to have a single jury rather than three for the fiction selections - drama, TV movie and miniseries.

"Having a single jury for fiction allowed us to ramp up the level of guests," Puons says. "This year as jury president we have Jason Priestley, who is not just an actor but also a great producer; and last year we had Ron Perlman."

Another change that Puons has implemented is the inclusion of shows in their first seasons. "We wanted to avoid always showcasing the same series because the idea is to high-light new talent and series," he says. This year's lineup includes ITV Studios'"Cradle to Grave" from the U.K., "Plan B" from Israel's Keshet Inti., and Abi Morgan's BBC drama "River" with Stellan Skarsgard. …

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