After taking over international distribution duties for Showtime at the beginning of this year, CBS International Television was quickly presented with the task of selling Showtime’s new series “Californication” to global outlets.
In the U.S., of course, syndication sales would be tricky given the nudity, language and edgy nature of the new show about a self-destructive novelist.
Overseas, however, is another matter.
The series, starring and executive produced by David Duchovny, has cleared most of the bigger international territories, where it is being scheduled in key prime-time slots.
“Californication” currently has dates with Channel Five in the United Kingdom, where it will launch Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. following a multimillion-dollar promotional campaign. In Australia the series premieres Aug. 27 on Network 10. Warner Channel Latin America picked up the series for Latin American and the Caribbean and for HBO in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, among other global deals. Other countries where the show has sold include Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Scandinavian countries and New Zealand.
CBS began selling the show around the world at May’s L.A. Screenings television market, well before the series debuted Aug. 13 to solid scores on the pay channel.
“Showtime is on a terrific roll creatively, and ‘Californication’ is an example of that with a strong cast, sophisticated writing and unique content,” said Armando Nuñez Jr., president of CBS International Television. “But the unique buzz surrounding the show resonated in the international community, and we are very pleased with the support international markets have given us.”
Mr. Nuñez said other territories will be completed at October’s Mipcom international television market.
“It was clearly a competitive market, and we are pleased with where we are from a major-market perspective,” Mr. Nuñez said. “The presence of David Duchovny was one big factor in our sales; he is clearly a recognizable star around the world.”
International sales are now regularly worked into the equation when it comes to television budgets and revenue projections, especially when it comes to shows with name casts. Mr. Nuñez said that while the nudity and language were considered taboo for American broadcast television, most of the other markets had no such qualms.
“The issue of nudity and sexual overtones is just not as big an issue overseas as it is in the U.S. There might be restrictions as to what time it airs, but overall that content is not an issue,” Mr. Nuñez said. “This is not just a show about a guy having a lot of sex, it’s a character viewers can really empathize with who is a family man despite all his shortcomings.”
The series is not expected to be re-edited, other than dubbing, in any of the markets where it will air.