'FlashForward' sees its future overseas

ABC Studios drama inks deals in 11 territories

Disney's "FlashForward" has done precisely that overseas -- wrapping a number of licensing deals with foreign broadcasters even before its launch in the U.S.

The action drama from ABC Studios, which premiers stateside on Sept. 24, has been picked up by broadcasters in 11 territories in Europe, following an initial purchase in July by Channel Five in the U.K.

No word on the prices per episode, but the show was reckoned by foreign programmers as one of the standouts at May's Los Angeles Screenings sales bazaar.

Top U.S. dramas these days can rake in as much as $1 million per episode from their deals abroad.

Disney-ABC-ESPN Television, Disney's international distribution arm, unveiled the deals Wednesday with over-the-air stations Cuatro (Spain), Nelonen (Finland), RTE (Ireland), RUV (Iceland) and TV2 (Norway) as well as with pay TV players AXN (Spain and Portugal), Digiturk (Turkey), Fox International Channels (Greece and Cyprus) and SBS (the Netherlands).

Adapted from a novel by Robert Swayer, the series toplining Joseph Fiennes and Jack Davenport examines the impact on humanity of an unexplained event that causes people to black out at precisely the same moment only to see a glimpse of their own future in six months.

Stephen Moore, exec vp and managing director of Disney-ABC-ESPN TV, described the series as "a high-concept idea which explores the subject -- is our destiny predetermined or do we have the power to change our future?"

The show's exec producer, David Goyer, pointed out that from inception the series would highlight "both global themes and appeal, with characters criss-crossing the world in order to make sense of what happened."

Apparently iIn the first few episodes, characters journey to Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K., and even Somalia.

"Beyond that," Goyer added, "we've made a concerted effort to reach out to our international partners and cast local talent within each of the core international territories."

The Hollywood majors will soon pick up stakes and decamp to Cannes for the MIPCOM TV market (Oct. 5-9), where they traditionally ink most of their international deals for new fall series.
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