American TV hits abroad
Baywatch may be enjoying renewed vigor in the U.S., but it has Europe to thank for its overall sunny outlook. When NBC bailed out on the show after one season, foreign demand came to the rescue. ”Our overseas customers wanted more, more, more,” says Paul Talbot, president of Fremantle Corp., which distributes the series outside the States. That Baywatch is a favorite in countries with chillier climes like Britain, Germany, and Holland is hardly surprising. ”It’s nice to look at the sunny California beaches with the flora and the fauna — particularly the latter,” says Talbot. ”Baywatch has beautiful girls, sun — they call it a ‘blue sky’ production. These characters have no nationality; they’re Hollywood.” Here are some other U.S. TV exports that fare well abroad:
*ITALY: They love Loving. The Bold and the Beautiful and Hunter are hot too.
*SPAIN: How do you say ”Aaron Spelling” in Spanish? Both Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place rate in prime time.
*SOUTH AFRICA: Murder, She Wrote and Rescue 911 both hit No. 1 this year.
*JAPAN: As the Twin Peaks craze subsides, the surf’s up for 90210.
*NEW ZEALAND: 90210 and Cheers hang out in the top 10 of Kiwi picks.
*CHILE: The Chileans take their soap operas real and surreal: Life Goes On and Dark Shadows feed their hunger for melodrama.
*FRANCE: ”Oui, oui” for Loving and 90210. But do they hate Brenda too?
*TAIWAN: With elderly people, The Golden Girls takes seniority. For younger folks, it’s Reasonable Doubts and L.A. Law.