Volume LI, No. 23, November 15-28, 2019

International Television Program Magazine

Published since 1969

Forward & Intelligence


Frantic Films has announced that principal photography has begun on Season five of the multiple award-winning CBC original sketch comedy series, “Baroness von Sketch Show.” Filming is currently underway in Toronto.  Fast-paced and irreverent, “Baroness von Sketch Show” celebrates the absurd, mines the embarrassing and satirizes daily life. Shot entirely on-location, this single-camera comedy series takes a fresh look at navel-gazing, contemporary culture. From marriage equality and screen addiction, to Airbnbs and ultrasounds, this satirical sketch show captures the banalities and absurdities of the modern world. Series is produced by Frantic Films and consists of the talented and award-winning team of Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen.

CONTACT: CBC Int’l. Sales, Toronto, Canada. Tel. 1-416-205-3500. Fax 1-416-205-3486. E-mail web:




PBS’s long-running documentary series POV has announced that “Stay Close,” directed by Luther Clement and Shuhan Fan and produced by Nevo Sinaar, will broadcast on PBS and stream on the PBS App on January 6, 2020. “Stay Close” is the underdog story of a young African American fencer from Brooklyn who overcomes a gauntlet of hardships on the road to the Olympics. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 in the Documentary Short Film category. On the Olympic fencing stage, Keeth Smart is one point away from winning a medal for the US team when he steps out of bounds. The referee calls for a video replay. Keeth looks to the sky and prays to God and his parents. “I’ve been through so much. You gotta help me through this.” Through home videos and increasingly surreal animated sketches, we follow Keeth as a discarded kid rising to become the first American to rank first in the world in fencing. Then multiple personal tragedies overcome him just months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As the spirits of his parents answer the call and guide his hand to victory, we feel the limitless love between parent and child (30’).

CONTACT: Public Broadcasting Service, Alexandria, VA, USA. Telephone 1-703-739-5000. Fax 1-703-739-3889.


Reed-MIDEM has announced that the smash-hit Turkish series “A Miracle” from MADD Entertainment and “Orphans of a Nation,” a Brazilian drama from Globo, told against the backdrop of the war in Syria, and recently nominated for the Rose d’Or Awards 2019, will both have premiere screenings at next week’s MIP Cancun. “A Miracle” is the Turkish adaptation of “The Good Doctor” and has been the smash-hit of this season on home soil. The Turkish version is the best performing drama in primetime in the past seven years, reaching a 46% audience share. An elite paediatric unit is turned upside-down when a strange newcomer joins the team. Ali has autism with savant syndrome, making it hard for him at first, but thanks to sincerity and dedication, this genius doctor finds love and acceptance and provides hope of all of us. The series is produced by MF Productions and distributed by MADD Entertainment. In “Orphans of a Nation,” a young Syrian victim of a bombing agrees to marry a powerful sheik in exchange for money to save her little brother's life. However, plans change due to the tragic death of the child. The young woman and her family flee to start a new life in distant lands. Abandoned and enraged, the sheik sends his right-hand man in search of the bride, but could not imagine the young man would fail to obey his command and fall madly in love with her. This forbidden love will be tested when the sheik's daughter decides to take revenge after her father's mysterious death.

CONTACT: Reed MIDEM, Paris, France. Tel. 33-1-4662-1777. Fax 33-1-4662-1797. Web:





Alfred Haber Television, Inc., has acquired the exclusive international distribution rights, excluding the UK, to “Shallow Grave,” the gripping new reality series produced in the U.K. and U.S. by Hunch Media, the creators of “999: Killer on the Line” and “50 Ways to Kill Your Lover.” “Shallow Grave” is currently airing on Crime & Investigation UK.  Each episode of Shallow Grave features true stories of murders that have been committed elsewhere, with the victims’ bodies transported and then left at “the deposition site,” or shallow grave.  Given the unconventional nature of these crimes, investigators must rely on any semblance of evidence to unravel the mystery. Told from the perspective of lead detectives, the stories of “Shallow Grave” follow a trail of clues—employing both cutting-edge investigative science and relentless police work—to identify and catch the killer (8 x 60’).     

CONTACT: Alfred Haber, Inc., Palisades Park, NJ, USA. Tel. 1-201-224-8000. Fax 1-201-947-4500. Web:


Lance Bass will usher in the merriest time of year in HGTV’s holiday extravaganza, “Outrageous Holiday Houses,” on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). Lance spotlights such festive towns as Santa Claus, Indiana, and North Pole, Alaska.  The special will kick off with Drew Scott, star of HGTV’s “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” and his wife, Linda Phan, in Los Angeles. The couple transforms their historic home into a whimsical gingerbread house bakery just in time to welcome family for the holidays. With edible delights galore, an ascending toy conveyor belt, and handmade candy decorations adorning the exterior, Drew and Linda leave no corner untouched in their winter wonderland. Visions of sugar plums are everywhere as Lance’s tour of the most awe-inspiring holiday houses takes him across the country and into Canada. In Dallas, Texas, a grand home is decked out to look like a Christmas Candyland, while in Bernville, Pennsylvania, a 300-acre dairy farm boasts a sprawling exhibit featuring a chicken coop/post office that receives hundreds of letters to Santa. Lance also takes viewers to a custom-built Santa train in Phoenix, Arizona, a three-story dazzling display in Alexandria, Virginia, and an elf’s playground in Toronto, Canada (60’).

CONTACT: Scripps Networks, Knoxville, TN, USA. Tel. 1-865-694-2700. Fax 1-865-690-9964.  Web:  



Janson Media has announced the digital release of the feature film “Fortress of War” to VOD markets in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This World War II historical war drama portrays, with incredible accuracy, the heroic defense of the Brest Fortress, which took the first major blow from the Nazis on June 22, 1941. The film follows the troops as they held a border stronghold for nine days of intense fighting, led by the regiment commanders Peter Gavrilov, Commissioner Efim Fomin and the head of the 9th Frontier Andrei Kizhevatov. The Brest Fortress is a 19th-century Russian fortress in Brest, Belarus. The battle marked the start of Operation Barbarossa of the German-Soviet War, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. “Fortress of War,” a Russian language film, subtitled in English, was directed by Aleksandr Kott, and stars Aleksey Kopashov, Andrey Merzlikin, and Pavel Derevyanko (138’).

CONTACT: Janson Media, Tappan, NY, USA. Tel 1-845-359-8488. Email:  Web:



41 Entertainment has announced their second project in young adult animation the science fiction series, “Roswell Conspiracies™.” Monsters aren’t real, but aliens are. And the creatures that humans call vampires, werewolves, ghosts and goblins are actually different species of extraterrestrials – most of whom are peaceful and able to pass as human beings. They live among us, hiding in plain sight. However, there are some aliens that are more horrible and bloodthirsty than any monster of myth or legend. These dangerous creatures are hunted by a cohort of humans and aliens who work for a top-secret multinational organization known as the ALLIANCE (8 x 44’)

CONTACT: 41 Entertainment LLC, Greenwich, CT, USA. Tel. 1-203-542-7310. Email:  Web:



Flatmates follows the lives of young Gen-Z’ers as they take their first uncertain steps into adulthood. Getting to grips with the next stage of growing up the group wrestle with the expectations and anxiety of trying to fulfil the “millennial dream.” Struggling with the realities of independent living are Lauren, an ambitious but scattered young woman, determined to go places, she just doesn’t know where, her dependable and lovesick ‘boyfriend’ Declan, and deluded and insecure step-brother, DJ Craig. The odds are stacked against them as they grapple with the world of work, dating, and new friends, but from their point of view, it’s an exhilarating, intoxicating leap into freedom; and they’ll do anything to make it work.

CONTACT: Zodiak Kids, London, UK. Tel. 44-207-013-4000. Email:   Web:


Developed and produced by BBC Children’s In House Productions, Biggleton is a unique preschool live action series (50 x 11’) which takes place in an imaginary town where a young cast of five- to seven-year-olds play out their own version of a grown-up world. A young police officer, a gardener, a scientist, a farmer, a hairdresser and a vet are among Biggleton’s residents, whose town environment has been recreated using cardboard and beautiful hand drawn detail.  From the Biggleton Obstacle Race to looking after a noisy puppy, their jobs and daily lives explore what it means to be part of a community, whilst inspiring children to role play and stretch their imaginations. Cake Entertainment will handle distribution outside the U.K. (50 x 11’).

CONTACT: Cake Entertainment, London, UK. Tel. 44-0-207-307-3230. Email:   Web: 



DECLINING VIOLENCE                     

From suicide bombings to mass shootings, the daily news is enough to convince us that we live in the most violent of times. It’s easy to conclude that we humans are a nasty bunch, hardwired to brutalize each other just as we’ve done throughout our bloody history as a species. But could this conventional wisdom be wrong? NOVA, a production of WGBH Boston, investigates this provocative question in its two-hour special, “The Violence Paradox,” November 20, 2019. NOVA tells a story that spans the entirety of human existence and examines the evidence that rates of violence have diminished, asking what might be causing the trend, and shows how researchers and communities are applying what they’ve learned to curb violence today (120’).

CONTACT: Public Broadcasting Service, Alexandria, VA, USA. Telephone 1-703-739-5000. Fax 1-703-739-3889.


ZDF Enterprises will be distributing “The Secret Underworlds of the SS–Hans Kammler’s Shadow Empire.” Historical/investigative research by ZDF has brought to light documents that reveal one of the last secrets of World War II, the whereabouts of SS General Hans Kammler. Hitler’s Chief of Secret Weapons was one of the leading figures in the Nazi hierarchy not only organized the construction of so-called “Miracle Weapons,” but was also responsible for securing Nazi looted property in secret tunnels. He also had significant influence on the establishment of concentration and extermination camps.  Kammler was declared dead in 1948 by a German court, the SS General having allegedly committed suicide in May of 1945. But recent documentary evidence and other sources question the official version of the story, suggesting that he survived the war and was brought to America because of his knowledge of the secret German armaments projects and to prevent him from falling into Soviet hands. This new documentary, scheduled for launch late this year, investigates what really happened to this “technocrat of death” (52’).

CONTACT: ZDF Enterprises, Mainz, Germany. Tel. 49-6131-991-1601. Fax 49-6131-991-1612. Web:



“French Bashing” and “French Loving” are two documentaries revealing the origins of French stereotypes. Together, they tell the story of the complex relationship between France and foreign countries, a story where stereotypes say as much about the French as about the people and countries that hold them. With a stylish design, views of famous personalities and lots of references to history, news and pop culture, these two documentaries take us on an exciting journey through the (French) looking glass (2 x 52’).

CONTACT: About Premium Content, Paris, France. Tel. 33-1- 8508-7022. Email:  Web:

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