By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

Next week, buyers and sellers will descend upon Los Angeles to buy, sell and screen programming at the 2008 edition of the L.A. Screenings (to be held May 15-23). Usually, the Screenings are all about new U.S. TV series, but this year, buyers will screen all manner of programming. John Cuddihy, president and managing director of New York-based Lightworks Program Distribution Incorporating Sandra Carter Global, will be on hand at the Screenings to showcase the company’s varied slate. VideoAge spoke with Cuddihy, and his colleague, David Nunez, director of Sales, Latin America, about why the Screenings will be different this year and why 2008 ought to be especially prosperous for independents.

VideoAge International: What product is Lightworks bringing to the L.A. Screenings?

John Cuddihy: We’re very excited that we’re bringing a lot of different types of programming to the Screenings. First, there’s Hollywood Café, a weekly magazine-style talk show about Hollywood happenings, but with a Latin flavor. Then there’s Hollywood Reporter, which is about the business of Hollywood. There’s also Red Carpet Reporter, about fashion in Hollywood. We also have Out There with Melissa DiMarco, a dramedy with an actress playing the role of a journalist on the red carpet. It’s like Hollywood Reporter meets The Office.

VAI: How different will the L.A. Screenings be this year — what with fewer studio pilots to be screened?

JC: It will be a more casual affair. The studios won’t require a full day of buyers’ time. I would hope that buyers don’t try to fill the rest of their days with fluff.

David Nunez: Buyers aren’t changing their plans. They’re still coming to review programming and they’ll have a full plate of meetings. What will be different this year is the length of screenings.

VAI: So will this be an especially good year for the indies?

JC: I would imagine. There are fewer pilots to be seen, so buyers can be more flexible with their time.

VAI: What territories will you be focusing on at the Screenings?

JC: I run the entire division, across Europe, Asia and Latin America, so I’ll be focusing on all of them.

DN: The Latin American contingent is especially important at the Screenings because very few of them attend MIP-TV.

VAI: What are you most enthusiastic about for the Screenings this year?

JC: Our new shows. We’re constantly on the lookout for new shows. In addition to the shows I already mentioned, we’re also bringing Florence Nightingale, a BBC co-production that is beautifully shot in hi-definition. It was our number one requested screener at MIP-TV.

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