Saddle up...
May 1, 2000

Saddle up

The French passion for pups is widely acknowledged (as anyone who has trod the lump-laden streets of France can attest), but their fondness for horses is apparently equally fervent – or so the masterminds behind thematic horse channel Equidia hope. Until a few months ago, Equidia was devoted to horse racing, but now the programmers have embraced the entire horse riding genre.

For producers, at least, the news is reason to buck up. At MIPTV, Equidia’s head of programs and coproduction Yves Brueziere said they need an average of 12 x 52 minutes and 40 x 6 minutes in new coproductions each year. He signed several doc-makers to copro deals at the event, including French doc channel Odysee and Paris prodco Lorelei for A Cowboy’s Daughter (52-minute one-off) and Viva Press for Riding Through France (18 x 26 minutes).

Floods and famine pending

Sports media company Extreme International has unintentionally lived up to its name, as recent MIPTV experiences prove. Last year, they had their posters and trade stand blown up by the bomb squad on arrival at Nice airport, and this year they were nearly burned out of their residence.

On the very first night of the event, Ben Barrett, international sales director, and Andy Warkman, acquisitions director for the Extreme Sports channel, returned at 3 a.m. to find the entrance to their apartment blackened and smoke-filled from an electrical fire. Slightly unnerved, they nevertheless spent a chilly and uncomfortable night inside, with the windows wide open to dispel the smoke. Barret and Warkman were later thankful they had had the good sense to stay out on the town, else the outcome might have been significantly worse.

All members of the Extreme team are currently hail and hearty, and drawing straws for attendance at the next MIP.

If only Napolean had known how to wrestle…

Move over Monet, step aside Schiller. The WWF is coming to town. At this year’s MIPTV, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment concluded multi-million dollar distribution deals with satcaster Canal+ in France and German pay-TV platform Premiere World. Canal+ signed up for 130 hours over two years, while Premiere committed to 531 hours over three years. Before long, names like The Rock, Fabulous Moolah and Road Dogg will be as common across the Atlantic as they are in North America. There’s much to be said for cultural exchange in the 21st century.

Is that your final answer?

In a move that confirms the international appeal of game shows, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has become the first Western game show to be produced in Japan. Tokyo-based Fuji TV inked the deal at MIP with London distrib ECM. (Celador Productions in the U.K. is the original prodco.)

Of course, when a game show is optioned by another territory, slight adjustments are inevitable, particularly in the prize structure. In Sweden, where both Hollywood Squares and Jeopardy are popular, one of the top prizes is $600 towards a pension fund. As for Japan’s Millionaire, contestants are likely hoping for their million in American dollars rather than yen (1 million yen = US$9,450).

Oh, how true it is

Heard in the headphones during a simultaneous translation at this year’s market: ‘I would like to warn you about coming to this conference. I mean, thank you for coming…’

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.