MIPTV: FremantleMedia's Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Electus' Ben Silverman Among Medal of Honor Recipients

Cecile Frot-Coutaz

The conference also adds a drama program and 'Modern Family' co-creator Steven Levitan will give a keynote speech and masterclass.

With MIPTV just a month away, organizers of the international television confab have revealed key speakers, sessions, honorees and a new group of conferences focusing on drama.

FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Electus CEO Ben Silverman will be among this year’s Medaille d’Honneur recipients. The medal is awarded annually to executives who have made a significant contribution to TV and the development of the international entertainment community.

Frot-Coutaz is head of the international producing powerhouse FremantleMedia, and executive produced hits American Idol and America’s Got Talent. Silverman executive produced Emmy-winner The Office and Golden Globe-winner Ugly Betty.

They’ll be joined by Brazil’s Globo Comunicacao head of international business Ricardo Scalmandre and Turkey’s Dogan TV Holding CEO Irfan Sahin.

Modern Family co-creator and executive producer Steven Levitan will give a keynote speech on April 13, focusing on the show’s continued success and how it has been developed as a format for international export, followed by a masterclass focusing on comedy.

While the festival has always had plenty of drama amongst its offerings, this year it will have a special two-day focus on such programming. “Co-production and scripted formats are growing so much in the industry, it’s important to continue the discussion around those verticals,” said conference organizer and ReedMidem’s director of television Laurine Garaude.

The new “drama at MIPTV” lineup includes a specialized program of presentations from producers and broadcasters, matchmaking sessions and special screenings.

Drama speakers will include Amazon’s head of drama development Morgan Wandell, Sky’s head of drama Anne Mensah, Happy Valley creator and executive producer Sally Wainwright, Deutschland 83 co-creator and writer Ann Winger and Spanish drama producer Teresa Fernandez Valdes.

Additional presenters at MIPTV will include Amazon’s head of comedy Joe Lewis, Comedy Central UK’s senior vp Jill Offman, Germany’s ZDF network executive director of feature films Susanne Mueller and actor Rob Schneider.

“The Millennial Shift” is the overall theme of this year’s conference program, with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank and Oscar-nominated Erin Brockovitch-producer and BuzzFeed consultant Michael Shamberg addressing “The Future of Digital Hollywood” in a keynote speech within the Digital Fronts program.

Addressing the generational and content consumption shift is something that concerns MIPTV attendees.

“It’s a common denominator for everybody, no matter what genre you are in, no matter what your business is, everybody is thinking about the native digital generation because it’s growing and we have to understand the changing habits and changing needs in creating content today,” said Garaude. “To make that the common denominator of the conference program was to us a very clear thing. We always talk to our clients when we create programs and that topic to them was very, very strong.”

A screening of History's Texas Rising will draw stars Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta and Oliver Martinez to the Croisette for its splashy world premiere and party.  

Australian miniseries Deadline Gallipoli, starring Sam Worthington, Rachel Griffiths and Hugh Dancy will also premiere, as well as French pay-TV giant CanalPlus’ English-language Louis XIV drama Versailles, created by Criminal Minds producer Simon Mirren and MI-5 writer David Wolstencroft and directed by Cesar-winner Jalil Lespert, and Danish pubcaster DR’s banking thriller Follow the Money.

In addition to speaking at the international co-production summit, Schneider will be on hand to present his new comedy Real Rob, which he self-produced and financed and is being sold internationally by Canada’s Tricon Films & Television.

Mena Suvari will be on hand to present her new Eli Roth-directed demon hunter horror series South of Hell, and Catherine Bell (J.A.G) and James Denton (Desperate Housewives) will appear to promote their Hallmark Channel hit The Good Witch. British thespians David Williams (Little Britain) and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) will pump Partners in Crime, the BBC’s new Agatha Christie drama.

Garaude also noted that, while final registration numbers are not in yet, this year’s conference attendance is looking up, with China, the U.S. and Spain seeing increased attendance.

MIPTV will run from April 13-16 in Cannes.