Sunday, 2 October 2011

Will the 'Transporter' TV Series Deliver?

An adaptation of Luc Besson's film franchise is supposed to be a game-changer, but on-set turmoil threatens the future of one of global TV's most ambitious projects.

On the eve of MIPCOM, the drama swirling around the international co-production Transporter is being eyed closely by producers and network programmers around the world. Following The Tudors, The Borgias, Combat Hospital and The Pillars of the Earth, Transporter is the latest in the new wave of high-end drama series financed and produced outside of the U.S. that aims to attract audiences both in Europe and North America.

 Even among this company, Transporter -- based on Luc Besson's hit action film franchise and with a budget of $3.3 million an episode -- is arguably the most ambitious. If it works, it could pave the way for a slew of internationally made English-language series, many of which are already in the pipeline.
Airing on Cinemax in the U.S., Transporter is also key because unlike a miniseries like Pillars of the Earth, the show is a one-hour drama -- the meat of any channel's schedule. In the U.S., cable outlets such as AMC and FX and pay-TV networks like Showtime, Starz and Cinemax are increasingly using original series to brand their networks. But drama is expensive, and often even successful U.S. shows -- think Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Justified -- have struggled to get on primetime in the big European markets.

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