Sunday, May 29, 2011

TV executives from MultiChoice to TopTV, SABC and M-Net attend the annual LA Screenings looking at the new upcoming TV content.

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South Africa's top TV executives all went to the annual LA Screenings that just ended in Hollywood and I can reveal that they are now fully aware of what is out there in terms of new TV shows and what new TV content will become available, and hopefully new full TV series, this year.

I can reveal that M-Net sent representatives, and MultiChoice's Aletta Alberts, general manager for content was also there. She told me herself at the launch of the the Disney XD channel that she's going. Insider sources at On Digital Media (ODM) confirm to me that TopTV's CEO Vino Govender as well as other TopTV execs attended the LA Screenings this week. Sources told me last week that SABC3's new acting channel head Ed Worster is also there. 

The LA Screenings - that was held at The Hyatt Century Plaza in Los Angeles this year - is not a trade or buyers market, of course. TV executives can't and don't do deals at the LA Screenings - although they do hobnob and build relationships. Often its more the relationship than the money (although that's very important too) that later clinch the deal. Instead, international television executives are invited by the top Hollywood studios to watch the latest primetime pilot episodes of the American TV networks that will start in September when the new TV season starts.

South Africa's TV execs watched all the new pilot episodes made by Paramount, 20th Century Fox, CBS Studio International, NBCUniversal, Sony, Warner Bros. and Disney, and talked to a wide range of exhibitors ranging from AETN International and Discovery Networks to MTV Networks International, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution and NBCUniversal International Distribution to name just a few.

The biggest buzz was around the new Steven Spielberg time travel back to dinosaur action adventure series Terra Nova (Fox), although executives are wondering whether the quality of the show in terms of story and special effects would be sustainable for the entire first season. Executives were also impressed by Pan Am (Sony), the drama that's a Mad Men copycat and which is set in the 1960's airline that no longer exists.

Other exciting shows creating chatter amongst executives are Fox''s drama Alcatraz by JJ Abrams about old secrets discovered inside the island prison, the fantasy drama Grimm, the Desperate Housewives-ish primetime soap Good Christian Belles (called GCB), the teen witch drama The Secret Circle that's very much like The Vampire Diaries and Ringer which is Sarah Michelle Gellar's return to television.