'Listener' results speak loud for Fox

Success of int'l launch provides new blueprint

The success of Fox International Channel's prototype global launch for "The Listener" will result in the model becoming a regular program premiere strategy, Fox executives said Thursday.

FIC launched the series almost day-and-date in 180 countries around the world. It opened to encouraging audience numbers last week, finishing first or high in its time slot within the cable and satellite ratings universe in most FIC territories.

Touting the launch as a ratings win, Sharon Tal Yguado, vp development at FIC and an executive producer on "The Listener," said it is all the more encouraging because it came ahead of NBC's planned domestic launch and the usual ballyhoo that accompanies a U.S. network show's international debut. The drama centers on a young paramedic who has the ability to read minds.

The next project to get FIC's day-and-date global launch treatment will be the psych ward drama "Mental," she added. The big difference here will be that "Mental" launches first in the U.S. (It debuts in the summer on Fox.) "But it will repeat the same global movie-type launch strategy, with Fox teams in marketing, creative and Internet being created worldwide," she said.

FIC also is close on the heels of several other projects that it will take to the international marketplace through the power of its network of international channels, which often have widely differing demographics. Finding a program that slides across all these demographics -- from female-oriented channels to those that target young males and beyond -- is key, she added.