MIPTV: Less than a week into his new job at Turner Broadcasting, former CBeebies boss Michael Carrington has promised “quick decisions” and put a call out for a major new international series.
Carrington, now chief creative officer of Europe, Middle East and Asia for Turner Broadcasting, said he wants to get a comedy for children aged 6-11 into production by the summer, and is looking for something that is relevant to children in all the EMEA markets.
“Children are not that different, wherever they come from, but we are working very hard on finding a format with very strong, character-led stories that can touch those in Sweden as much as those in the UK,” he told Broadcast.
“I feel it should be connected to real life – we are [generally] boy skewing and fantasy takes it into a realm that can end up excluding a boy audience – it’s the real setting that’s the key.”
Carrington pointed to CBBC’s The Secret Show as the sort of tone he is looking for, but said he has found “very little” that fits the brief in the current market and has put a call out to indies to pitch him new ideas.
The successful commission will be either 13 x 30-minutes or 26 x 11-minutes and is likely to be live action.
Meanwhile, Carrington is also planning to take quick action to refocus Turner’s EMEA channels, by analysing their audiences and signposting different blocks more clearly, and also “creating a more uniform look and feel” for its boy-skewing channels in different territories.
He is likely to keep live action on Cartoon Network – a controversial decision taken by Turner’s US team two years ago – but will flag it up more clearly so that viewers know what to expect.
“Turner has lost sight of the focus of the channel brands a little bit. We need to understand our audiences better give them clearer expectations of what they get from a channel brand,” he said.
“The key thing is to make quick decisions and if something doesn’t work, act fast to change it.”