The trend towards transatlantic series was further confirmed this week at Mip-TV which starts winding down today. Internationally-packaged dramas that were tubthumped here included Starz/BBC Worldwide’s Da Vinci’s Demons, Endemol/AMC’s Low Winter Sun, Netflix/Gaumont International TV’s Hemlock Grove, Starz/BBC’s The White Queen, eOne/DirecTV‘s Rogue and Tandem Communication’s Crossing Lines, which NBC picked up last month for a summer debut. Early on in the market, Starz announced it was partnering with Sky Atlantic on Fortitude, a drama written by Simon Donald, creator of the original British version of Low Winter Sun.
Apart from their international flavor, the shows also have in common that they were almost all picked up in straight-to-series deals. Horrormeister and Hemlock Grove exec producer Eli Roth said knowing that he had 13 episodes from the outset was “really an advantage.” It enabled him to keep working along the way on one aspect of the initial episodes – a character’s complex transformation into a werewolf. Tandem’s Rola Bauer, who’s exec producing Crossing Lines said, “I would encourage” Hollywood to do more straight-to-series orders, and “trust us.” During pilot season, she said, “everyone is chasing the same actors” and trying to access state and foreign tax credits at the same time, making for a frenzied atmosphere. But she allowed that “The UK and America are open to realizing the economic market needs to have a different way of working creatively… I hope the show makes it easier for people to come over here and make co-productions.”
Crossing Lines is an action/crime series that focuses on an elite cross-border police unit that hunts down brutal criminals. William Fichtner’s disgraced New York cop is at the center of an ensemble that includes Donald Sutherland, Marc Lavoine, Gabriella Pession, Tom Wlaschiha, Moon Dailly and Richard Flood. Bernero said he was “very happy to be back home at NBC” where he made Third Watch, but he’s also “much more hopeful that it does well in Italy and Germany and France.” Bauer said the show will likely debut in Italy where Rai has the rights followed by the U.S., France and Germany. Already anticipating the future, the folks behind the show know “where to be by the end of season two.”
Europudding has been a big keyword at Mip, but Bauer said “people’s perceptions have changed” with regard to international pedigree. The dramas in town this week have a mix of behind-the-scenes and onscreen talent from the U.S., the UK, Germany and France, among others. On deck for Mipcom, eOne will launch sales on miniseries Klondike in October. The Discovery Channel’s first scripted series also has an international cast in Sam Shepard, Tim Roth and Abbie Cornish. Talent evidently appreciates these limited run series. Hemlock Grove‘s Famke Janssen said 13 episodes suited her schedule very well and eOne’s John Morayniss says a 10-episode show like Rogue is “more attractive to film actors that don’t want to commit to 22 episodes.”