LA Screenings 2014: Chrystele Fremaux, Universal Networks International

As buyers flock to Los Angeles for the May Screenings, TBI speaks with key players about what’s on their 2014 shopping list.


Chrystele Fremaux, vice president, programming, emerging markets, Universal Networks International

Which channels are you buying for?

We are buying mainly for Universal Channel, Syfy, 13th Street and Diva. Our other brands across the region – Studio Universal, Telemundo, E! and Style – don’t currently carry a lot of US, English-language scripted content.‎


What slots are there for US shows on your channel(s)?

We premiere and promote our US shows in primetime, which stretches from 8 to 10 pm, depending on the territory.


ArrowWho do you have existing programming deals with?

We have a limited number of output deals and we work with the majority of the big US Studios, but also pick up shows from independent distributors, too. Our acquisitions strategy depends on the needs of each specific territory.


090209_0417_mentalistWhat are looking for at the 2014 Screenings?

We will be looking for action, procedural and relationship dramas that appeal to a broad, mainstream audience.


How closely do you track series in advance?

The trend is now on a year-round development calendar; from cable original programming to Network shows, we track series all year long.


ChicagoFireWhat are the notable US hits on your channels, do certain types of US show resonate with your viewers?

The shows with a strong element of procedural and close-ended episodes tend to work better for our pay-TV channels. We like to use established series like Law & Order: SVU, Hawaii Five-0, The Mentalist or Grey’s Anatomy to launch and promote new titles.

A recognisable cast is also important to promote a new show and drive local press coverage.


perception_425What did you pick up last year, have you acquired anything recently?

From the last couple of slates we’ve picked up, among other titles, Arrow, Chicago Fire and Perception.


Does it change the acquisitions process when many shows are going straight to series and getting announced early?

It doesn’t change our acquisitions strategy – which is based on local needs and budget; however, it definitely helps our financial and schedule planning, by giving us more visibility.


hawaii5_00How soon to the US air date can you show series?

We can show series as quickly as 24 hours later for English-speaking territories such as Africa; 10 days for territories where we subtitle, as in The Netherlands; and, approximately four weeks after where we voiceover or dub, such as in Eastern Europe. While we prioritise a quick turnaround, it all comes down to when the distributor is willing and able to release material.



Marcus Ammon, senior VP, programming, Sky Deutschland

Catherine Mackin, director of programme acquisitions, UKTV

Jacinto Roca, CEO and co-founder,

Brian Walsh, director of programmes, Foxtel

Guðrún Helga Jónasdóttir, head of programme acquisitions, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service – RUV






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