FX Period Series 'The Americans,' Endemol's 'World Games' Among MIPCOM Highlights

6:51 AM PST 09/17/2012 by Scott Roxborough

High-end drama competes with reality formats at the global television market in Cannes next month.

COLOGNE, Germany - Pricey period drama and high concept reality formats are the two dominant trends going into MIPCOM, the international TV market and confab, which runs Oct. 8-11 in Cannes.

On the drama side, The Americans, the new period drama from FX, which Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution is selling worldwide, is one of a host of historic fictional formats feeding a growing appetite for high-end costume drama. The Americans will kick off MIPCOM on Monday with its world premiere screening to be attended by series stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell.

Also tapping the growing interest in historic drama are veteran sales outfits Beta Film and Tandem Communications. Beta's MIPCOM slate includes the premiere season of Copper, the crime drama set in New York's Five Points neighborhood circa 1860 which airs on BBC America; and the second season of medieval melodrama Borgia, which Beta's production arm EOS co-produced with Atlantique Productions and which airs on Netflix in the United States. Tandem, meanwhile, has the limited series World Without End, based on the Ken Follett best-seller set against the Hundred Years' War and the Black Death, which is the sequel to Tandem's Golden Globe-nominated Pillars of the Earth (2010).

Set against these costume-heavy dramas are a slew of new reality formats looking to penetrate a saturated non-fiction market. Production heavyweight Endemol, the group that created the reality show craze with Big Brother, returns to the MIPCOM fray with several new non-fiction formats including: World Games, in which two celebrity rivals travel the world competing in extreme challenges in exotic locations; The Bodyguard - a game show in which contestants compete to protect their favorite celebrity; and Your Face Sounds Familiar - a talent show in which celebs impersonate pop music stars. Your Face Sounds Familiar, originally produced by Endemol Spain for local network Antena 3 has already sold to nine territories, including China and Italy.

Australia's Beyond Distribution is also counting on the appeal of non-fiction, bringing a trio of new factual series to MIPCOM from production group Greenstone. They include Cause of Death: Unknown, a C.S.I.-style investigation series into the deaths of real people; the antiques investigation format History Under the Hammer; and Renters, a show based in New Zealand in which property managers check into their own rented spaces.

Non-fiction is also certain to be a focus of Harvey Weinstein's keynote address to MIPCOM attendees on Monday, Oct. 8. In his speech, Weinstein is expected to announce TWC's new 2013 television slate. TWC, which just recently set up its own international television sales division, has made its name on the small screen mainly with reality series including Project Runway and Mob Wives.

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