Buyers positive on U.S. TV offerings

CW's slate among series drawing praise at L.A. Screenings

More L.A. Screenings coverage

Key program buyers are, in a word, full of "Glee" about the shows on offer at the L.A. Screenings. Uplift and escape are in and medical shows are out -- at least according to public comments from a clutch of buyers who are spending the week traipsing from one Hollywood studio to another to assess the new primetime series.

ITV's head buyer Zai Bennett said the fare on offer is "the strongest display from the Screenings in the last three years."

"The major studios have all got strength and depth in drama. While there aren't a huge amount of comedies, of those that have made it on to the schedules there are some laugh out loud ones like 'Modern Life' and 'The Middle.' "

Unless they're all sending out disinformation to confuse their competitors, British buyers appear to give the biggest thumbs-up so far to Disney's drama "Flash Forward."

There was also good news for the CW, and for the distributors who handle that netlet's shows internationally.

"The CW know their brand inside out and have got a raft of programming that fits them perfectly, from 'The Beautiful Life' to 'Vampire Diaries' and on to the reboot of 'Melrose Place.' "

Per Bennett, these shows "will all fly off the shelves and could play on our youth channel ITV2." Warners' handles "Vampire Diaries," CBS the other two shows.

As for new medical dramas, there's "Trauma" up against "Miami Trauma" in several buyers' minds. it's difficult to see them all finding homes in the U.K., Bennett said.

Everyone liked Fox's "Glee" though liking is never the only criterion for buying.

Sellers, too, were upbeat about how their wares went over with clients.

Marion Edwards, Fox's international TV president, said she expects to be closing licensing deals on various shows "within weeks."

"People seemed optimistic and looking forward to building strong schedules. We had clients asking for additional clips and that means they are very serious about considering a pick up. So I think we are coming out of this downturn."

Edwards and her team have been showing buyers more than half a dozen pilots and clips – including "Glee," a series about white collar crime "White Collar" and "Modern Family" for ABC.

Over at Sony, international TV topper Keith Le Goy sounded a similar note. And the enthusaism wasn't just limited to broadcast network shows.

"Drop Dead Diva," a Sony show for the Lifetime cabler, had "captured the timeslots of major buyers." Though Le Goy wasn't prepared to rattle off deals, he said there were some and that the show "perfectly fits audiences' and broadcasters' search for programming that makes you feel great."

The Sony seller also said that the drama "Hawthorne" (for TNT) has also been well received, "with buyers entranced by Jada Pinkett Smith in the lead role."

The conglom's two network sitcoms, "Brothers" and "Community," sold earlier in the week to Rogers and to CanWest Global, respectively, in Canada.

"People are definitely buying – they're buying in a very targeted and focused way, but they are buying," he said.
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