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With much of the 2020 U.S. fall TV season postponed amid COVID-19 production delays, international television channels and streaming platforms are looking elsewhere for their small-screen fix. Going into this year’s international TV market MIPCOM — which will be an online-only affair because of the pandemic — European and Canadian series look ready to fill the gap.
“It will be interesting to see if tastes change as [international channels] lose their dependence on American content,” notes Stephen Mowbray, head of acquisitions for Swedish public broadcaster SVT, which has only one new American series on its fall schedule (USA Network’s The Sinner) and has seen impressive results with European shows, including the BBC’s Normal People, which drew more than 500,000 viewers to SVT’s online streaming platform. “I’m not sure things will bounce back [after COVID- 19],” he adds.
What has changed, likely for good, is a heightened international preference for diverse and challenging dramas. Cookiecutter procedurals dominated past MIPCOMs, but THR’s hot list of shows to watch for digital MIPCOM 2020 includes everything from a supernatural thriller inspired by the indigenous cosmology of native tribes on Canada’s west coast to an Italian coming-of-age drama set in a youth prison and an action-comedy about heroic werewolves and wizards.
Says Monica Levy of Paris-based Federation Entertainment: “Everyone is looking for shows that can be binge-watched, that stand out from the rest.”
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