L.A. Screenings Saved by the Bell

Feb 17, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The end of the strike came just in time to save this year’s edition of the L.A. Screenings, an annual May rite that draws international programming buyers to Hollywood to shop for the latest U.S. TV shows.
Studio reps last week confirmed this year’s event will run May 17-23.
There had been concern that had the strike lasted into spring, the market, which typically draws 1,300 to 1,500 buyers annually, would have to be canceled due to a lack of product for the studios to sell.
The L.A. Screenings are held immediately following the networks’ annual schedule announcements so that international buyers can buy the new shows for their channels. This year’s dates could change, however, depending on when networks make their announcements to advertisers.
Currently, Fox is scheduled to go first on May 18, followed by CBS, NBC Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and finally Disney-ABC on May 23. Although individual studio plans continue to be worked out, executives note the global market remains too valuable to ignore and that some plan to bring back the lavish, daylong presentations typical of the market, while others will cut back to “maybe a half-day.”
Already confirmed to hit the West Coast are buyers from Canada, Latin America and Europe, despite the networks’ indecision on whether to hold their annual lavish upfront advertising presentations in New York.
“Thank God the strike is over,” said an executive. “L.A. Screenings remains one of the most important dates for the TV business, and we couldn’t afford to not have one. If the buyers are coming, you can count on us to be there with bells on, making sure they have the opportunity to buy our shows. We are still planning on welcoming them with open arms.”

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