By Dom Serafini
More than 1,100 international program buyers attended the recent L.A Screenings. Some TV outlets sent fewer acquisition executives than usual, others (particularly those from Italy) sent more.
Most of these buyers had one thing in common: reluctance to speak openly about the shows deemed promising at the studios’ screenings. They feared that eagerness regarding particular pilots might result in increased license fees from the studios.
VideoAge met Dermot Horan from Ireland’s RTE at the London West Hollywood Hotel, a new and relatively economical accommodation favored by a large European TV executive contingent that had been asked to cut costs at this year’s event.
Horan was ecstatic about the full network slate, saying, “It’s great. U.S. television is back in force.” In terms of genre trends, he noted that “the biggest genre, the one with the most volume, is medical.”
“Actually,” he added, “there are too many medical shows. Three of these new shows are all about nurses. Of those, the dark comedy, [starring Edie Falco, premiering June 8 on on Showtime and distributed by CBS Studios International] is my personal favorite.” He later clarified, “I say ‘personal’ because it doesn’t necessarily mean that my network will go for it.”
Furthermore, Horan predicted that “at least half [of these medical dramas] won’t succeed, but a few will replace .”
Another trend Horan observed was the proliferation of teen shows, like Fox’s Glee (distributed by 20th Century Fox) and ABC’s Make It or Break It (distributed by Disney). “The CW network is back to the WB days, targeting teenaged girls,” he said, referencing , the new , [all distributed by CBS Studios], and others.
The third major trend in Horan’s view is the “high-concept show, like ABC’s [distributed by Disney] and NBC’s Day One [distributed by NBC-Universal]. Those are good for drawing in the male audience.”Even though Horan “focuses on drama” because he has “no confidence in U.S. comedies,” he was pleased that U.S. comedies have gone back to the multi-camera production model that, in his view, adds the positive factor of a live audience. “Laughter is contagious,” Horan said, “and if there is an audience in the studio, the actor will perform better and the laughter becomes natural.”
A final comment was about , moved to prime time from its traditional late night slot: “It will offer little competition,” he said, “and will only get an audience if he can get big names, which is difficult to do five nights a week.”