Buyers like Screenings choices

'Tremendous variety' with int'l actors, female-led series

It was a banquet literally and figuratively at the Los Angeles Screenings for more than 1,500 worldwide TV buyers who had high praise for the quality and variety of new series on offer. As the Screenings begin to wind down today after a week of parties, studio dinners and daytime screenings, the overall reaction from foreign broadcasters to the studios was thumbs up.

For many buyers — who spend upward of $5 billion annually on U.S. programs — the L.A. Screenings is their first opportunity to view the pilots of series that only the week before had been scheduled by the networks for the new season.

"I think that there is tremendous variety this year, and there's no doubt that it's also the year of the woman as far as outstanding series are concerned," said Brian Walsh, executive director of television and marketing at Australia's Foxtel. "Glenn Close is very strong in 'Damages,' and of course, there's 'Cashmere Mafia,' both at Sony." He also praised Fox's "The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

Said Michael Murphy, founder and chief programming executive at Ireland's Channel 6: "It's an interesting year in that every studio has a number of really good shows. Some of the shows I liked are Fox's new Kelsey Grammer comedy 'Back to You.' I also liked 'Lipstick Jungle' at Universal. It has very strong female appeal, based as it is upon the book by 'Sex and the City' author Candace Bushnell."

Murphy also underscored CBS Paramount's "Cane," starring Jimmy Smits, and "Californication," starring David Duchovny. Murphy and other buyers also pointed to the scheduling potential for Warner Bros. International Television's "Gossip Girl," set around the party-heavy lifestyles of teenagers attending elite private schools in New York.

Also gaining considerable attention, according to interna-
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