Global Showbiz Briefs: Voting Glitch Fixed For Brazilian ‘Rising Star’; ‘Boom!’ Big In Israel; ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain; More

By | Thursday, 17 April 2014 06:00 UK

Brazil’s ‘Rising Star’ Glitch Fixed; ‘Boom!’ Blowing Up In Israel
The second airing of the local adaptation of Rising Star in Brazil went off without a hitch on Sunday after a glitch during the premiere last week meant boom!that some viewers were unable to enter their votes. Keshet International reports today that Superstar, as it’s known locally, had a 30% average audience share in its sophomore outing at 11pm Sunday on Rede Globo. The interactive app that allows viewers to vote whether an act moves ahead has been downloaded 1.4M times with 2.5M votes cast during Episode 2. Closer to home, Keshet’s super-hot Mip-TV format Boom! grew in its second airing on Israel’s Channel 2 last week with a 41.5% share; ratings were up across major demos as well. Boom! sold to the U.S. (Fox), France (TF1), Spain (Atresmedia), Hungary (TV2) and Belgium (VTM) during last week’s market in Cannes.

Cuarto Bringing Endemol’s ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain
Host in the BoxEndemol’s Host In The Box format has sold to Spain’s Cuatro, with Endemol producing locally. The factual entertainment format, created by Endemol Germany, previously sold to Hungary, where it aired for eight episodes on Super TV2; it originally launched on ProSieben in Germany. In each instalment, a different host is locked inside a wooden box and shipped off to an undisclosed location in the home country.

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MIPTV Briefs: Baltasar Kormakur To Direct & Produce Icelandic Series ‘Trapped’; ‘Boom!’ Goes To Spain; Japan’s Wowow Boards Scorsese Doc; More

mip tv logo 2Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, who segues between Hollywood and home-based projects, is set to direct and produce serialized crime series Trapped in his native country. From Kormakur’s RVK Studios, it’s based on his original idea and written by Sigurjon Kjartansson and Clive Bradley. Trapped follows the investigation of the grisly murder of an unidentifiable man found in the water after an international ferry arrives in a small town at the bottom of a fjord. Soon after, a Baltasar-Kormákurpowerful blizzard hits the town with deadly force, making the only road in or out impassable. The 10-part series, the most ambitious Icelandic commission ever ordered, will air locally on public broadcaster RUV. RVK’s Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson is also producing and RVX, the effects arm of RVK, will design the VFX. Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and Klaus Zimmermann are executive producers and are handling worldwide distribution. Kormakur, whose The Deep was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar in 2012, is currently directing Everest for Universal, Cross Creek Pictures and Working Title Films. Read More »

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Fox Orders Israeli Bomb-Defusing Game Show ‘Boom!’ From Keshet DCP

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 6:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Boom! Game Show FoxJust days after it was taken out on the global marketplace, the Israeli game show format Boom! has landed a sale in the U.S. Fox has given a series order to the explosive project, developed for the U.S. by Keshet DCP, the joint venture between Keshet International, the global distribution and production arm of Keshet Media Group (Homeland), and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark prods. (Golden Globes) Read More »

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MIPTV: Social Experiments On The Rise As U.S. Buyers Hunt For Formats; Comedies Eye Comeback

mip tv logo 2Television executives are always on the hunt for the proverbial Next Big Thing, and for the past year or so, the Mipcom and Mip-TV markets have emerged as important hubs where some of the hottest new formats are unveiled. Following a strong showing at last fall’s Mipcom, Keshet‘s Rising Star sold around the world, including to ABC in the U.S. What will be the breakout format at Mip-TV which kicks off tomorrow? With the U.S. reality market yet to yield a new tentpole franchise since NBC premiered The Voice three years ago, and most established series more than a decade old, the necessity of finding reinforcements is ever more urgent and means execs need to be constantly vigilant as to where the new possibilities may be hidden. Likening the search to digging for truffles, Jennifer O’Connell, head of Core Media’s U.S. Television Division, says, “We’re really going to be sniffing around everywhere.” It’s important to keep a “very open mind to where a great idea can come from.” Regardless of the provenance, U.S. broadcasters are more apt to take a second look “if someone else did it first… It can be almost like an insurance policy,” she says.

keepyourlightshiningMost agree that the biggest proving grounds for new programming remain the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands. Israel has also been coming on … Read More »

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MIPTV Briefs: TF1 Goes ‘Boom!’ With Keshet Format; Zig Zag/Screenz Team On ‘Sofa King Clever’; FremantleMedia Takes ‘Punk’d’ Overseas, Asks ‘Who Lives Here?’

miptv logoAs the Mip-TV market gets underway in Cannes, Keshet International has announced its first offshore rights deal for ticking time bomb show, Boom!. France’s TF1 has acquired the format that just debuted in Israel to powerhouse ratings and is expected to be a big seller here this week. The game show sets a squad of four players the boom!challenge of defusing eight replica bombs by answering trivia questions correctly within a strict time limit. The multiple choice responses are represented by different color wires. If the player gets an answer right, the prize money remains intact and the squad advances. If they cut the wrong wire, or run out of time, the bomb explodes spewing material across the studio and shaking the set. The team loses one player per exploded bomb, and 25% of the potential prize money. Keshet DCP is developing the show for the U.S. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Foxtel Gets BBC Programs For Australia; ‘Almost Human’ Headed To UKTV’s Watch; More

BBC Programming Heads Down Under With Foxtel
Australia’s Foxtel is getting a burst of BBC programming beginning in August. The BBC First channel will be the new home of premium British drama and comedy in Oz, grouping a bevy of shows together in one place Foxtelfor the first time. Launch titles include recent British hits The Musketeers and Peaky Blinders, along with The Politician’s Husband, single drama Burton And Taylor and the new Alan Partridge mockumentaries. Returning series including Call The Midwife will start airing in 2015. BBC First will be the first window in peaky-blinders-fin_2705945bAustralia, with programs debuting there before potentially moving to terrestrial television at least 12 months later. Oz is the first territory to launch BBC First, one of three new global brands announced by BBC Worldwide in October 2013. Banished, written by Jimmy McGovern, will be the first local production for BBC First. Co-commissioned with BBC Two in the UK and produced by RSJ Films/See-Saw Films, the epic seven-part series is loosely inspired by events in 1788 when Britain established a penal colony in Australia. BBC First joins existing BBC channels – UKTV, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC World News – on the Foxtel platform

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NBC Acquires ‘Taxi Brooklyn’; Action Series Based On Luc Besson’s Feature Franchise

TaxiBrooklynNBC has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to EuropaCorp Television‘s Taxi Brooklyn for a summer debut. The 12-episode action/comedy series is produced by showrunner Gary Scott Thompson (Las Vegas, The Fast And The Furious) and based on Luc Besson‘s Taxi feature franchise. It stars Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh and Jacky Ido (Inglourious Basterds). Former Blue Bloods co-star Jennifer Esposito, Ally Walker (Profiler), James Colby (Person Of Interest), Bill Heck (Pan Am), Jose Zuniga (Body Of Proof) and Raul Casso (Blue Bloods) round out the cast. Formerly known as Taxi: Brooklyn South, Taxi Brooklyn was shot in English in the titular borough along with Manhattan and Queens. Leigh plays Detective Caitlyn “Cat” Sullivan, who is determined to find the truth about the death of her father, an NYPD detective who was killed in the line of duty. When her stubborn character and recklessness behind the wheel see her demoted to foot patrol, she teams with the highly skilled and charming Marseille-born cabbie Leo Romba. Realizing Leo lied on his immigration form, Cat offers him a deal: in exchange for his driving prowess and taxi, she will help Leo with his papers situation. He becomes her personal driver and police consultant as they race through the streets of New York City solving cases. Read More »

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‘Borgia’ Producer Klaus Zimmermann Joins Dynamic Television; Opens Euro Branches

klaus zimmermannFormed by Daniel March, LA-based Dynamic Television launched at Mipcom last October. Ahead of the upcoming Mip-TV market, the company has appointed Borgia and Transporter: The Series producer Klaus Zimmermann as Managing Partner. In tandem, Dynamic is opening offices in Paris and Berlin. Zimmermann left his previous post as co-chief of France’s Atlantique Productions in September. There he helped drive large scale English-language drama series for European outlets that include the BBC, Canal Plus, ZDF, TF1, RTL, M6 and SAT 1, among others. Zimmermann will transfer his international production model to Dynamic, with a focus on the scripted commercial fare that is so hot right now with European broadcasters. Prior to Atlantique, Zimmermann was co-founder of Zen Productions and is also an exec producer on Bobby Moresco’s serial killer series 100 Code for Sky Deutschland and Red Arrow.

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Ketchup Ent. Acquires U.S. Rights To David Hayter-Helmed ‘Wolves’

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 4:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

WOLVES Day 30EXCLUSIVE: Ketchup Entertainment today acquired U.S. distribution rights on Wolves, the action thriller that marks the feature directorial debut of X-Men and Watchmen scribe David Hayter. Written by Hayter, the film stars X-Men: First ClassLucas Till, Watchmen‘s Stephen McHattie, and Game Of ThronesJason Momoa. Copperheart Entertainment’s Steve Hoban produced with makeup effects by Oscar-winning creature designers Dave Elsey and Lou Elsey. Till plays a high school student who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents, and finds himself turning into a savage wolf. He is thrust between two warring wolf packs fighting for control of Lupine Ridge.  Merritt Patterson and John Pyper-Ferguson round out the cast. The film will be released this summer.

hayterSaid Ketchup CEO Gareth West: “From the first time we saw Wolves, we knew audiences would be swept up in the exciting action and powerful storytelling. Wolves is a great addition to the Ketchup slate.” Said Hayter: “My producers and I have worked for years to make Wolves something special and unique, and I am confident that we have found committed partners who share that vision.”

The film was funded by Copperheart Entertainment, TF1 International and Telefilm Canada. Ketchup’s West and acquisitions head Stephen Stanley negotiated with UTA Independent Film Group and exec producer Benedict Carver on the deal. Ketchup’s recent acquisitions include the Pierce Brosnan-Emma Thompson comedy Love Punch, the Paul … Read More »

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Discovery Takes Controlling Interest In Pan-European Platform Eurosport

By | Tuesday, 21 January 2014 17:48 UK

discoveryIn December 2012, Discovery Communications entered a strategic alliance with France’s TF1 and as part of the deal, it took a 20% stake in the group’s pan-European sports eurosportplatform, Eurosport. At the time, Discovery said it had the option to raise its interest to 51% in two years. Today’s announcement accelerates that move by one year with Discovery upping its stake in Eurosport to a majority interest. TF1 will now retain a put option that could require Discovery to buy the remaining 49%. The flagship Eurosport network reaches 133M homes in 54 countries and 20 languages. It focuses on regionally popular niche sports including tennis, cycling, skiing, skating, and curling. The group also includes Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Eurosport Asia-Pacific and 24-hour channel and online hub, Eurosportnews. Following are the full details of today’s deal: Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: BSkyB Opens Sky Store To Nonsubscribers; Netflix Eyeing France Launch?; More;

By | Thursday, 5 December 2013 06:00 UK

BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
Man of Steel 3
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.

Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. netflix_logo2A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.” Read More »

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AFM Hot Titles: Better Quality Pix In The Mix

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 5:05pm PST
Mike Fleming

AFM kicked off today, and my has that indie business changed over the years. The schlock is almost all gone, and the chase is on for fewer movies of higher quality, with recognizable stars and filmmakers who have classed up a business. The elevated level of product has been made possible by studios vacating the tweener film space, leaving a lot of orphaned development available to the indies.

That means it’s a lot less fun. When I first got to Variety in the ’90s, I was dispatched to AFM and asked to come back with a report about what it all meant. A distributor friend recounted observing a stranger who was going around making tiny offers on films for his obscure home territory. Based on what he was buying, he seemed to have zero taste. Finally, somebody stopped the guy to see what he was doing. Turned out he was a distributor — but produce, not movies. He had a chain of outdoor vegetable stands, and showed movies to his customers. The worse the film, the more vegetables his patrons bought to throw at the screen.

Any thoughts I had that this was a too-good-to-be-true story faded when I got there. You could throw a rock and hit Fred Williamson, the gridiron great-turned-star of many forgettable action films. And hey, be careful, you almost stepped on Nelson de la Rosa, the world’s smallest man who would go on to become Brando’s sidekick in The Island Of Dr. Moreau. The halls were lined with one-sheets where all the creativity went into the titles. And while the Weekly Variety AFM issue was thick as a phone book, I’d hear salesmen grumble about getting stiffed for ads on movies that didn’t sell.

Aside from a few titles still exploiting the bogus Sharknado craze, it’s a world of different now. The schlock meisters are relics, and the projects ringing the bell with distributors coming from all over the world are the ones that have name directors like Woody Allen, David Koepp, Tom Tykwer, Tommy Lee Jones, and stars like Meryl Streep, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Ian McKellen, Jesse Eisenberg, Tom Hardy, Andrew Garfield, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe, Michael Fassbender and Nicole Kidman. These are studio-caliber names.

“You will see the occasional hilarious poster, but since the high end studios abandoned everything but superheroes, the independent financiers and producers have been the beneficiaries,” said Millennium Films president Mark Gill. “Olympus Has Fallen would have had studios all over it five years ago. We were able to do it.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: New Vision For BBC Worldwide’s Future; UK Culture Secretary Meets With U.S. Execs; More

By | Friday October 18, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

CEO Tim Davie Reveals Vision For Future Of BBC Worldwide
In an address to employees, BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie today unveiled a new vision to build the BBC’s brands, audiences and commercial returns around the globe. It includes a £200M investment in premium content, the launch of three new core consumer brands propositions – spanning the genres of premium factual, factual entertainment and drama — and a greater focus on digital innovation to extend the company’s reach and routes to market. “BBC Worldwide has a good track record of taking British content to the world, benefiting international audiences, license fee payers and the wider industry alike,” he said. “But the time has come for a step-change, reflecting the rapid development in our markets.”

UK Culture Secretary Spends The Week Meeting With U.S. Showbiz Execs
During a visit to the U.S. this week, UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller met with senior executives at Disney, Warner Bros and other showbiz companies to discuss collaboration and hear suggestions on how UK filming conditions could be made more attractive to American productions. She also sought reaction to the UK’s recent extension of tax credits and talked with HBO about its Game of Thrones production model and with Lucasfilm about its plan to shoot the new Star Wars film in the UK and whether there could be other ways to help support the local film industry.  Read More »

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Fox Orders Unscripted Comedy Series ‘Slide Show’ Produced By Steve Carell

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 3:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox has given an eight-episode order to Slide Show, an unscripted comedy from Shine America and Steve Carell. It is based on international format Anything Goes, originally created by Arthur Essebag for French-based production company Satisfaction, The Television Agency. Slide Show pits two teams — featuring the nation’s funniest celebrities and comedians — against each other in a series of showdowns designed to hilariously test mind and body. Throughout the game, the competitors must think on their feet as the teams face unpredictable song, dance and sketch challenges, often while navigating the show’s trademark one-of-a-kind set, tilted at a 22.5 degree angle. “I think unscripted television should be outrageous and audacious by definition. Unfortunately, not much is, as of late,” said Reilly. “Slide Show is the most ridiculously fun and out-there thing I’ve seen in quite awhile.” Added Carell, “Comedy is subjective, but if you don’t find Slide Show to be funny and enormously entertaining, then you will never be my friend.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: LoveFilm Brings ‘Copper’ To UK Via Stream; Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi Launch AMBI Pictures; More

By | Tuesday, 10 September 2013 05:55 UK

‘Copper’ Will Make UK Debut Streaming On LoveFilm
LoveFilm has acquired UK rights to Cineflix series Copper. The series follows Vikings as the second to debut in the UK exclusively via the streaming service, bypassing traditional broadcasters. Netflix competitor LoveFilm will make the show available for streaming starting Friday. Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Anastasia Griffith star in the period police drama co-created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos. Copper airs on BBC America in the U.S. Read More »

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Rooney Mara To Join Cate Blanchett In Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’

The Weinstein Company acquired Carol at the tail end of Cannes this year. At the time, Mia Wasikowska was attached to star opposite Cate Blanchett in the story of a burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. Wasikowska is no longer in the mix, and Rooney Mara has become attached to the role of a young woman working in a department store and hoping for a better life. Blanchett is playing a wife trapped in a loveless marriage who’s desperate to break free but fearful of losing her daughter in the process. Far From Heaven helmer Todd Haynes is directing the drama that’s based on the novella The Price Of Salt by The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith. Phyllis Nagy (Mrs Harris) penned the adaptation. Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley of Number 9 Films are producing with co-financing from Flim4. Christine Vachon’s Killer Films will co-produce. HanWay Films is handling international sales and also has deals in place with eOne in Canada, Icon in Australia and TF1 in France. Shooting starts in spring next year. Blanchett is coming off of a highly praised turn in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Mara will next be seen in Spike Jonze’s Her and Stephen Daldry’s Trash. She’s repped by WME and Management 360.

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Chyler Leigh, Jacky Ido, Jennifer Esposito & Ally Walker To Star In Luc Besson/Gary Scott Thompson’s TF1 Show ‘Taxi: Brooklyn South’

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 9:47am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Taxi: Brooklyn South, a 12-episode TF1 drama series set and filming in the U.S., has assembled a cast of familiar American TV names. Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh and Jacky Ido (Inglorious Basterds) are set as the leads in the project, based on Luc Besson’s Taxi feature franchise. Former Blue Bloods co-star Jennifer Esposito, Ally Walker (Profiler), James Colby (Body Of Proof), Bill Heck (Person Of Interest), Jose Zuniga and Raul Casso round out the cast of the series, written by Gary Scott Thompson (The Fast And The Furious) who serves as showrunner. Shooting started in New York last week without U.S. distribution locked in yet, something the producers from EuropaCorp and TF1 plan to pursue when they have a finished product in hand. Taxi: Brooklyn South centers on Caitlyn Sullivan (Leigh), a brilliant investigator at the Brooklyn Police Station whose stubborn character and her recklessness behind the wheel have made her an outcast within the NYPD. She teams with Marseille-born Leo Romba, a happy New York Taxi driver full of energy and care for his clients, to form the most improbable and efficient partnership to solve crimes and mysteries around Brooklyn. The first two episodes of the series are being directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2). Leigh is with UTA and Burstein Co.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: No Charges Yet In French ‘Survivor’ Player’s Death; ‘Game Of Thrones’ Sets UK Streaming Record; More

By | Thursday, 18 July 2013 05:00 UK

Prosecutors: Charges Not Imminent In Death Of French ‘Survivor’ Contestant
French prosecutors in the Parisian suburb of Creteil have denied reports that they plan to open a criminal investigation into the March death of reality show contestant Gérald Babin. Babin suffered a heart attack during the first day of shooting on Koh-Lanta, France’s local version of Survivor, and a preliminary manslaughter inquiry was later opened. At the time, anonymous sources called into question the show’s handling of Babin’s collapse. But reports that surfaced in the French media this morning, which said the opening of an official judicial investigation was imminent, are incorrect. “You cannot set a timetable. No decision has been made,” prosecutors told AFP. Babin’s death preceded the April suicide of the show’s physician Dr. Thierry Costa, who left a note saying he was confident he had treated Babin “as a patient and not a contestant” but that he was distraught by “false accusations and assumptions” in the media. Koh-Lanta started airing in 2001 and is one of leading network TF1′s flagship series, drawing an average of 7.4M viewers. The network promptly shelved the 16th season and has yet to make a decision about the series’ long-term future.

‘Game Of Thrones’ Sets Streaming Record In UK
The third season of Game Of Thrones just became available on UK streaming service Blinkbox, resulting in a sales record with a 632% increase in revenue versus the same day last year. Owned by retail giant Tesco, Blinkbox is the only service currently carrying the season. The show airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK and holds the top three spots in Blinkbox’s rankings. Much as UKTV did with its giant lake-bound Mr. Darcy in celebration of the launch of its Drama channel, Blinkbox installed a giant dragon skull on a Dorset beach to promote the S3 release of Game Of Thrones.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: TF1 Demotes ‘Dallas’; ‘Behind The Candelabra’ To Open Deauville Festival; More

The Rise And Fall Of ‘Dallas’ In French Primetime
The new reboot of Dallas debuted with three episodes on June 22 on France’s TF1, for an average 3.6M viewers. But the second set of episodes lost about 1M sets of eyeballs, leading the channel to move the rest of the first season out of the first part of primetime and relegating it to 11:15 PM starting July 6. The network has not commented on its plans for future seasons, though it has rights to the second and third for a total of 30 episodes. Per French trade Le Film Français, those seasons could be moved to a TF1 affiliate. The original Dallas was a phenomenon in France, where reruns have aired for years. It even had its own French lyrics to the famous opening theme song. Translated, they go like this: “Dallas, your ruthless world glorifies the law of the fittest; Dallas, under your relentless sun the only thing you fear is death; Dallas, homeland of the dollar and oil…” (Here’s a YouTube video for the curious.)

‘Behind The Candelabra’ To Kick Off Deauville Fest

The Deauville Festival of American Film has set Steven Soderbergh‘s Behind The Candelabra as its opening-night movie. Stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon will be on hand as will Soderbergh, who will also deliver a masterclass at the French fest. Producer Gale Anne Hurd will be the subject of a tribute. The festival, which runs a competition for U.S. indies and helps launch the European campaigns of studio pics, runs August 30 to September 8 in Normandy. Read More »

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