TVWise continues our LA Screenings coverage with a look at the series Warner Bros. International Television Distribution are distributing internationally and which ones have buyers talking.
Following our coverage of the slate of new shows offered by CBS Studios International, Disney Media Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution and Sony Pictures Television, we turn out attention to Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. The international distribution division of the studio handles global sales for the shows produced by Warner Bros. Television, cable division Warner Horizon Television and select TNT Originals productions.
Warner Bros. International Television Distribution had one of the largest slates of new shows at this year’s screenings. All told they were shopping 10 new broadcast series to international buyers, including a pair of dramas being produced for corporate sibling The CW, a new thriller from The Following creator Kevin Williamson, a handful of comedies for ABC and NBC, and four new comic book adaptations. So which of their shows are playing well? TVWise presents our run down of which shows are hot and those which, frankly, are not.
In what has become a trend in recent years at the screenings, Warner Bros. has the strongest slate of all of the studios (though CBS with Madam Secretary as well as CSI and NCIS spin-offs came close). Interest was high before things kicked off, but, as ecpected, Gotham and The Flash emerged as red hot titles. Stalker also widely impressed as did a couple of entries on the comedy side. In addition to those show’s listed below, WBITD was also distribution new TNT dramas The Last Ship and Murder In The First; and TBS’ new comedy series Buzzy’s.
A To Z
From executive producers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, A To Z is a romantic comedy set in the world of an online dating company that details the “A to Z’s” of a relationship, from meeting to breakup. The ensemble navigates the complicated world of modern dating and poses the question: Is there such a thing as destiny? The Warner Bros. Television produced comedy stars Cristin Milioti, Ben Feldman, Henry Zebrowski, Leonora Crichlow, Christina Kirk and Henry Zebrowski.
I’ve said it before – comedy never does as much business on the global market as drama and this year there have been few standout comedies. Unfortunately, A To Z is not one of them. The pilot has been called “funny” and “well rounded” but talk is particularly soft. If anything those talking about picking up A To Z are more pointing to the auspices of the executive producers and star Cristin Milioti – known internationally for her starring role on the final season of How I Met Your Mother. This one is a wait and see job.
Based on the DC character, Constantine follows John Constantine, an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending the people against dark forces from beyond. Produced by Warner Bros. Television, the drama stars Matt Ryan, Lucy Griffiths, Charles Halford and Harold Perrineau. The script was written by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer, both of whom serve as executive producers.
Like Warner Bro’s other comic book adaptations, Constantine has played well at the screenings. The cast is particularly strong on this one and the solid script led to a “fantastic” pilot. Again, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution look like they will quickly rack up sales on Constantine. That said, one buyer shared some concerns with this year’s volume of comic book series which, despite fitting their target audience, may be just “too much”. “We’ll need to be very selective”, he said.
The Flash follows Barry Allen, a scientist who, through a freak accident, is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive.The drama project is being produced by Warner Bros. Television & Berlanti Productions and stars Grant Gustin (Arrow), Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Panabaker (Necessary Roughness), Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order), Candice Patton (The Game), Tom Cavanagh (Royal Pains) and Carlos Valdes. The executive producers are Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and David Nutter.
Easily one of the hottest dramas, The Flash, though taking something of a backseat to Gotham, has a lot of buzz surrounding it. The casting has been praised as has this particular imagining of the concept. From what I’m told, The Flash could have stood well on its own merits, but setting it in the Arrow universe has added to interest in the series. There is no mixing words on this one, The Flash will be a big seller. But a global hit? Maybe.
Penned by Matthew Miller, Forever follows Dr Henry Morgan, New York City’s star medical examiner, but what no one knows is Henry studies the dead for a reason: He is immortal. With the help of detective Jo Martinez, the show peels back the layers of Henry’s colorful and long life through their cases. The drama, from Warner Bros. Television, stars Ioan Gruffudd, Judd Hirsch, Alana De La Garza, Joel David Moore, Barbara Eve Harris and Donnie Keshawarz.
While the softest title on Warner Bros. International Television Distribution’s drama slate this year, Forever has still impressed a fair number of buyers. It’s not clear why this drama has fewer buyers talking, but based on those who are, it will still sell well internationally. Perhaps Forever is being outshone by its comic book siblings?
From The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller and Warner Bros. Television, Gotham examines the early years of James Gordon – who would eventually rise to become the Police Commissioner – in his years as a Gotham City Police Department homicide detective, as well as the early years of Batman and the iconic villains of Gotham City. The series stars Ben McKenzie (Southland), Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy), Sean Pertwee (Jo), Robin Lord Taylor (The Walking Dead), Zabryna Guevara (Burn Notice), Erin Richards (Being Human), Zabryna Guevara (Burn Notice), Jada Pinkett Smith (Hawthorne), David Mazouz (Touch) and Camren Bicondova.
Gotham was looking like it might emerge as this year’s hottest drama at the screenings and that is what happened. Warner execs were keen to stress to buyers the distinction of Gotham being set in the “Batman universe”, rather than being a “Batman show”. Even with that caveat, buyers from across the world are eating it up. Ben McKenzie’s casting has been called “perfect”, with one buyer calling it a “gritty cop drama” which was “not what I was expecting.” Gotham is leading the pack amongst this year’s new comic book series. Expect a lot of sales on Gotham – this one is going global.
Based on the DC Comic, iZombie follows Liv, a med-student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the Coroner’s Office in order to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat so that she can maintain her humanity. With every brain she eats, she inherits the corpse’s memories. In order to quiet the voices in her head she teams with a police detective and her boss to solve homicide cases. The drama is produced by Warner Bros. Television and stars Rose McIver, Alexander Krosney, Malcolm Goodwin, David Anders, Nora Dunn, Ruhul Kohli and Robert Buckley. The script was written by Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas, who also directed. The executive producers are Diane Ruggiero, Rob Thomas, Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.
The last comic book adaptation on Warner Bros. International Television Distribution’s slate this year, iZombie is still hot but is by no means as hot as Constantine, Gotham or The Flash. Some buyers loved it, calling it a “unique spin” on a by now tested genre. Others were, while not disinterested, merely not talking about iZombie. That could be down to the relatively young age of the source material. But at the moment, iZombie is generating less interest than the other comic book entries; behind Gotham, The Flash and Constantine, respectively.
The Mysteries Of Laura
Based on the Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, The Mysteries of Laura follows the life and relationships of Laura Diamond, a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals, but not her hell-raising twin children. The cast includes Debra Messing, Laz Alonso and Josh Lucas. The pilot was written by Jeff Rake and produced by Berlanti Productions, Kapital Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. The executive producers are Jeff Rake, Greg Berlanti, Melissa Kellner, Aaron Kaplan. The pilot was directed by McG.
This one seems to be playing quite well with international buyers, with a decent amount of interest in the Debra Messing fronted drama. Messing’s performance has been praised and a strong production team featuring Jeff Rake and Greg Berlanti is helping. One buyer compared the series to Lifetime’s The Protector, calling it “the same show, only the husband is still in the mix.” On the whole, The Mysteries of Laura has a decent shot at racking up some strong sales, but I’m not convinced it’ll go global.
One Big Happy
One Big Happy, from Liz Feldman and Ellen DeGeneres, follows two best friends, one gay and one straight, who plan to have a baby together. Things get complicated when the male friend finds the love of his life. The comedy is produced by Warner Bros. Television and stars Nick Zano, Elisha Cuthbert, Rebecca Corry, Kelly Brook and Chris Williams. The executive producers are Feldman, DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman.
Ellen DeGeneres and former Happy Endings star Elisha Cuthbert, need I say more. One Big Happy has done ok with buyers. It’s playing better than A To Z and has been called “very funny”. As noted above, between DeGeneres and Cuthbert’s rising star in the comedy world, One Big Happy has a shot at becoming a hit. But international buyers will be asking is this the next Happy Endings or another The New Normal?
Created by Emily Kapnek, Selfie follows a self-obsessed twenty-something woman who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image. Warner Bros. Television produced the comedy which stars Karen Gillan, John Cho, Allyn Rachel, David Harewood, Tim Peper, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Natasha Henstridge.
Selfie is a particularly interesting one. This comedy is HOT and its emerged as the dark horse on Warner Bros. International Television Distribution’s slate this year. The general feeling on this one going in was that it was a dud, looking like the worst new comedy on the block. That was thanks to the ABC upfront trailer. But after viewing the actual pilot, a lot of buyers changed their minds. “It is funny”, I was told, “a lot funnier than I expected.” Karen Gillan’s performance has also been called “wonderful”. While comedy has a harder time internationally, this one has a shot at travelling far and wide. Thank god for the screenings, eh?
Stalker, from The Following’s Kevin Williamson, follows the detectives of the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit who investigate stalking cases. Warner Bros Television and Outerbanks Entertainment produces the drama which stars Dylan McDermott, Maggie Q, Mariana Klaveno and Victor Rasuk
It’s fair to say that WBITD’s drama slate this year is a little comic book heavy. Stalker has emerged as a much needed tonic to that for some buyers. The concept has been hailed as the “scary thriller” you would expect from the creative talent behind Fox’s The Following. Add to that a strong cast, featuring Dylan McDermott (still best known internationally for his turn on The Practice), and its easy to see why Stalker has emerged as a strong commodity for Warner Bros. Expect A LOT of sales on this one.