LA Screenings: CBS Studios International 2013-2014 Slate – What's Hot & What's Not – TVWise

With the LA Screenings – where the major studios host acquisitions executives from around the globe and showcase their newest shows for the 2013-2014 season in the hopes of securing international sales – now behind us, TVWise continues its coverage of the annual industry event with our studio-by-studio break down of industry intel (from numerous sources) on which shows are hot and those which, frankly, are not.
Following on from our coverage of the slate of shows being offered by Disney Media Distribution and Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, we now turn our attention to CBS Studios International (CBSSI) – who earlier this week closed a deal with BSkyB’s Sky Atlantic for the exclusive UK rights to Showtime’s Ray Donovan. The distributor represents the offerings of CBS Studios and Showtime’s in-house produced series and was shopping six new scripted series at the LA Screenings. Those series include Under The Dome – slated for a Summer premiere on CBS, The CW’s drama series’ Reign & Star-Crossed and three new series for CBS: The Millers, Reckless and We Are Men.
CBS Studios International has a fairly strong slate this year. Under The Dome was generating some keen interest before the screenings – Stephen King’s name get people interested, who knew? – as was The CW’s Star-Crossed. But just how hot are the shows CBSSI was shopping and which ones have international buyers talking?
The Millers
The Millers is one of 6 new comedies that CBS picked up for its 2013-2014 schedule. Slated to premiere on the network this Fall, The Millers was created by Greg Garcia and tells the story of a recently divorced man whose life gets more complicated when his parents have marital problems of their own. The comedy series is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges, JB Smoove and Mary Elizabeth Ellis.
This is one of the hotter titles on CBSSI’s slate and has been received well by buyers. The buzz is pretty strong on this one, with sources pointing to stand out performances from Will Arnett, Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale (one source referred to the trio as the “dream team”). The Millers lived up to the hype and if it holds this could be a big seller for the studio.
This is one of the few new dramas picked up by sister network CBS for next season. Created by Dana Stevens, Reckless is described as a sultry legal show set in Charleston, South Carolina, where a gorgeous Yankee litigator and a Southern City Attorney struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. The drama is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Cam Gidandet, Anna Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Gregory Harrison, Adam Rodriguez, Kim Wayans and Georgina Haig.
The buzz one this one is soft – in fact its the softest of any show being offered by CBS Studios International. It’s not clear why that is. One source called its a “soapy legal show.” There wasn’t much hype around this one and while it seems to have failed to impress on a wide scale, another source tells me that “these sorts of shows” always do well internationally. This one’s a wait and see job.
Penned by Stephanie Sengupta and Laurie McCarthy, Reign tells the previously unknown and untold story of Mary Queen of Scots’ rise to power when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis, and with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting. The drama is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Adelaide Kane, Anna Popplewell, Toby Regbo, Celina Sinden, Megan Follows, Janessa Grant, Caitlin Stasey, Torrance Coombs and Rossif Sutherland.
Reign is one of five new shows that The CW has on tap for next season. This is one of the hottest titles from CBS Studios International’s slate on the drama side. This one has a lot of people talking and I understand that it’s now considered to be something of a dark horse – one that wasn’t on anyone’s radar going in but emerged as the hottest drama the studio was offering. Given the setting of the show, a UK sale is considered “extremely likely” and I’ll have more on which UK broadcasters (if any) are interested in a couple of weeks time, but expect a lot of international deals on this one.
Star-Crossed was created by Meredith Averill and tells the story of an epic romance which ignites between a human girl and an alien boy when he and eight others of his kind are integrated into a suburban high school ten years after they and hundreds of others landed on Earth and were immediately consigned to an internment camp where they’ve been imprisoned ever since. The drama is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Aimee Teegarden, Matt Lanter, Malese Jow, Titus Makin Jr, Grey Damon, Natalie Hall, Chelsea Gilligan, Greg Finley and Maggie Elizabeth Jones.
This is another of The CW’s new dramas and has been received reasonably well by international buyers. I hear that it is a “well presented” genre show and as such has sparked a fair amount of interest. It seems to have generated more interest that Reckless with one source calling it “90210: The Alien Years“. Overall, the buzz on this one feels similar to the buzz that Beauty and the Beast generated at last year’s screenings. Given that Beauty and the Beast went on to do well internationally and was called a “cash cow” for CBSSI could this be a good indicator for the future success of Star-Crossed?
Under The Dome
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Under The Dome tells the story of a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a massive transparent dome. The drama series, which has an order for 13 episodes, is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, Nicholas Strong, Jolene Purdy and Aisha Hinds.
One of sister network CBS’ few new series premiering this Summer, Under The Dome has some solid buzz surrounding it. It was on buyers minds before they landed in Los Angeles and I hear it impressed with one source saying it had “everything you’d expect from a series carrying King’s name.” I would expect a decent amount of deals for it based on the buzz surrounding it and, of course, anything with King’s name on it tends to sell well. Even before the screenings began I was hearing rumbling that Universal Networks International were interested in the series with a view to airing it on Syfy UK, who also air another series based on a King novel – Syfy’s Haven.
We Are Men
Another of CBS’ new comedy series, We Are Men was created by Rob Greenberg and follows a young man who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex. The comedy series is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Chris Smith, Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell and Kal Penn.
Between Greenberg’s name and a decent amount of acting talent many, myself included, were expecting We Are Men to generate a lot of interest fro buyers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I hear a number of buyers were a little disappointed by this one. It’s not that the pilot wasn’t funny – several sources say it was, highlighting Shalhoub’s character – it just wasn’t what they had been expecting. Too much hype seems to have deflated this one. Will that be fatal for the show’s international chances? Probably not, as buyers from Australia and Canada are said to have expressed “keen interest” in this one. We’ll have to wait and see how this one does when the dust settles.