MIPTV: 10 Hot Shows in Cannes

Defiance Trailer Screengrab - H 2012

Defiance Trailer Screengrab - H 2012

Ang Lee's small-screen debut, high-tech supermodel wannabes and an alien apocalypse: Meet the programs vying to become the next big thing.

A version of this story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

By-the-book procedurals, mainstream comedies and a never-ending stream of reality shows continue to dominate international airwaves, but dark and edgy is making a comeback. With the global success of ambitious dramas (think Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead), broadcasters' appetite for cutting-edge fare has producers heading to MIPTV, the annual international TV market, with shows that push the primetime envelope. The annual market takes over Cannes from April 8 to 11.

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Sales: Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution

Fresh off his best director Oscar for Life of Pi, Ang Lee makes his TV debut with a drama from Homeland producers Gideon Raff and Howard Gordon and Six Feet Under producer Craig Wright. Tyrant drops an American family into a unidentified Arab nation where they must adjust to the turbulent world of Middle East politics. Lee will direct the pilot for FX and will exec produce if the show goes to series.

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Sales: Gaumont International

Following its hugely successful first original drama House of Cards, Netflix has teamed with horror-meister Eli Roth for this mystery series, which France's Gaumont International Television is co-producing. Famke Janssen and Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard star in the drama, in which the murder of a high school girl leads to the unraveling of the formerly vibrant steel community of Hemlock Grove.


Sales: NBCUniversal International

Aiming to fill the gap in the geek market left by the end of Battlestar Galactica, this new Syfy series also is hoping to be the first crossover hit between scripted TV and online gaming. The series, which premieres April 15, and the Defiance game (from online gaming group Trion Worlds) will feature interconnected worlds and storylines. Starring Grant Bowler, Jaime Murray and Mia Kirshner, the show is set on a future Earth that has been radically transformed by a war between humans and newly arrived alien races.

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Sales: Lionsgate International

Singapore's Supermodel Me broke ground more for its canny approach to multiplatform ad-revenue creation than any innovation in content. A model contest with episodes custom-cut for simultaneous broadcast on mobile, Internet and cable TV platforms, the show was the first in Asia to use Hyperspot technology, which allows viewers to click on any person, object or product, giving sponsors real-time data and opportunities to direct viewers to off-show offers. The multiplatform approach has been a hit in Singapore, and the show now is angling to unfurl as a pan-Asian format.


Sales: Entertainment One

A twist on the conflicted-cop genre, Rogue stars Thandie Newton as Grace, an undercover detective haunted by her son's mysterious death. To find out the truth, she enters into a pact with local crime boss Jimmy (Marton Csokas) to uncover the traitor in his organization. The drama is produced by eOne with Greenroom Entertainment.


Sales: Sierra/Engine Television 

After the Roman gladiators of Starz's Spartacus and the Vikings in History's drama series, it was inevitable that pirates would make it to the small screen. This swashbuckling serial, which British writer Neil Cross (Luther) is adapting from Colin Woodward's book The Republic of Pirates is being produced by husband-and-wife team Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (Gladiator) and features John Malkovich as the infamous pirate Blackbeard. NBC already has ordered a 10-episode first season.

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Sales: Lionsgate Television

The most promising of a raft of prison-set dramas launching at MIPTV this year, Lionsgate's new series is based on the best-selling convict memoir by Piper KermanTaylor Schilling (Mercy) stars as a young woman who seemingly has it all but finds herself convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to hard time at a women's correctional facility. Produced by Weeds creator Jenji KohanOrange Is the New Black will go out on Netflix in the U.S. this summer.


Sales: TF1 International 

The small-screen version of Luc Besson's action franchise Transporter sputtered in its first season on HBO's Cinemax, but this new series from EuropaCorp has renewed hope that Besson's high-octane action can translate to weekly TV. An action comedy about a globetrotting spy (French actor Vincent Elbaz) who agrees to settle down and reconnect with his daughter and ex-wife -- while secretly still fighting crime -- was a ratings and social media hit for French network TF1 and has "U.S. remake" written all over it. 


Sales: 20th Century Fox TV Distribution

Lifetime has given a 10-episode order for the first season of this soap-style new drama from producers Fox 21 that combines elements from two of the most successful female-focused U.S. series on the international market: Desperate Housewives and CharmedJulia Ormond stars as the matriarch of a family of immortal witches living in a secluded seaside town on Long Island. 

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Sales: Talpa Media

International comedy series are notoriously hard sells, but this Dutch dramedy is gaining traction following its spectacular local debut, where it attracted more than 2.1 million viewers. The setup has three very different men all going through messy breakups who decide to move in together. Produced by The Voice creator John de MolDivorce will test whether the master of Dutch reality TV also can make it big in the scripted world.