April 16, 2007 6:20 PM
CANNES, France -- Today was the start of business on the MIP TV convention floor - floors, really, since the market has now spread into the new Riviera building, including the rooftop Riviera Seaview area, which is where Starz Media is situated. That gave me an opportunity to walk around and see what the world's producers are offering at this market. What did I find? Lots of programming that looks like lots of other programming. There's a generic quality to much of what's available here, programming that seems like a commodity.
It underscored our belief that we have to produce shows that stand out, that have qualities that elevate it above the commodities that fill the aisles here in Cannes. That's why we feel good about "Painkiller Jane," a new action series with a recognizable star in Kristanna Loken, a proven writer and producer in Gil Grant, and a sizable 22-episode first-run primetime commitment. The show stood out from much of what's here, and not just because Kristanna was here for the first of two days of interviews, meetings and events.
She brought some star wattage to this otherwise fairly staid market - more than a dozen photographers from local and international agencies turned up on the Majestic Pier for her photo call - and reminded potential buyers about how committed we are to this project. That we were able to announce distribution deals for the series today in Japan, Turkey and Iceland, with other markets teed up to close within days, underscore our confidence in this series.
But in the back-to-back meetings Starz Media's sales, production and home entertainment executives here with me this week had today, conversations involved many of our other projects, from our series for young children "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" -- which we learned today was nominated for best animated children's program at this year's prestigious Banff Television Festival -- to some series we're not quite ready to announce yet.
The people we met with seem open to our position as a one-stop shop for producers and networks with a passion project that's lacking a key element - funding, international distribution, creative input, production savvy or some combination of all of these -- and we ended our first day of MIP feeling good about the reception we received today.