'Muppets,' 'Rush Hour' and More Among Foreign Favorites at the L.A. Screenings
Moi?! Yes, Ms. Piggy and 'The X Files' prompt talk of bidding wars as international buyers assess the new crop of U.S. TV.
This story first appeared in the June 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
The ink barely dry on U.S. upfront orders, TV studios paraded shiny new wares to international buyers at the annual L.A. Screenings through May 21. Here are five titles that got big buzz.
1. The Muppets
Projects prompting bidding wars, namely in the U.K., were those that had the least footage to show. The X-Files miniseries is expected to be the top pick, but ABC Studios' 10-minute reel for The Muppets got big applause. "There's a long history with The Muppets, and you have the promise of celebrities making appearances, like Elizabeth Banks in this mini-episode we showed," says Disney Media Networks global distribution head Ben Pyne.
2. Rush Hour
Warner Bros. TV might have wider success with comic book fare Supergirl (CBS) and Legends of Tomorrow (The CW), but the warmest room was for Rush Hour. The cop dramedy based on the film franchise drew huge laughs. "It resonated more than any show I've ever seen," says Warners worldwide TV distribution chief Jeffrey Schlesinger. "Everyone praised the casting [Jon Foo and Justin Hires] and how easy it would be to program."
3. The Player
The Las Vegas-set thriller about a former intelligence agent working in security, starring Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes, was among the most-desired dramas. Espionage remains a popular theme abroad (see The Blacklist), and Sony Pictures TV is emphasizing the combination of serial and procedural elements. Fellow NBC order Blindspot garnered similar excitement for Warner Bros. TV — an order from Canada's CTV.
4. Queen of the South
The 20th TV spin on the book and telenovela, recently commissioned by USA, played especially well. "It ended up pulling people in quite a bit," says Fox international TV head Marion Edwards. More polarizing was FX's Zach Galifianakis vehicle Baskets, which had audiences laughing or confused.
5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CBS Studios likely will have greater success with The CW's hourlong rethinking of the Showtime pilot than it would have had in its original half-hour iteration. A tease of the Rachel Bloom musical comedy was met with eager approval. (Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens could tap a similar vein, but the horror-comedy and his American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson won't screen until summer.) More conventional comedies getting affection, unsurprisingly, are those fronted by household names John Stamos (ABC Studios' Grandfathered) and Rob Lowe (20th TV's The Grinder).