‘Broad City’ Heads to Cannes for MIPTV 2014

by Jennifer Needham, VIMN UK

Of course it wouldn’t be MIPTV without a few big names to create a stir:  50 Cent was likely ‘passing the Patron’ during his market debut, and Kim Cattrall added a touch of sex to the city for her Monday keynote, but courtesy of Comedy Central, word on La Croissete was there were three other broads in town…

Representing new Comedy Central series “Broad City,” Viacom was joined by the writers, creators and stars of the original web and TV series Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, as well as exec producer Amy Poehler.

Before her arrival, Jacobson said, “Ho-lee-Shhh, it’s going to be amazing in Cannes! Seeing what MIP is all about is already amazing via Google, but in real life (ahem — IRL) it’s going to be huge!” – and she’s not wrong.

With the theme of this year’s market being A New Age of Storytelling, it seemed fitting to showcase a series that originated online before transitioning with incredible success to linear TV. On Monday, April 7th, Jacobson, Glazer and Poehler were joined by Kent Alterman, President of Content & Original Development, Comedy Central in the U.S., and MIP veteran, Caroline Beaton, SVP of International Program Sales, Viacom International, to speak on a panel entitled ‘The Power of Comedy: Laughing its way from online to linear.”

Moderated by Nancy Tartaglione, International Editor, Deadline, the panel addressed the series’ recent success (averaging 1.2 million viewers per episode in the U.S.) as well as the wider impact of the web on the comedy genre (with Amy opening the session in true ‘Poehler fashion’ with her very own mock Sharon Stone moment — watch video above to see for yourself!)

Referring to Viacom’s global research that identified comedy as the most searched for and shared genre online, the session spotlighted the evolving role of the web as an increasingly pivotal platform to incubate great talent. “Social media and smartphones have made stand-up comics of us all,” Alterman said. “The biggest benefit TV can derive from the online comedy phenomenon is as a test bed for new talent.”

MipTV 2014: VIMN Party

When asked the key to producing comedy that travels, Poehler referred to the importance of authenticity, recognizing that today’s youth audiences are savvier and more willing to open their minds to knew things than ever before.  “They recognize that funny’s funny, no matter where you are, where it comes from and where they find it,” she said. It was clear from the Comedy Central panel, as well as the other presentations made at MIP, that we’re in a new age for storytelling, as well as commissioning, producing, consuming…. the list goes on.

MipTV 2014: VIMN Party

In true Viacom fashion, cocktails were hosted at the stand to bid a warm welcome, thank you and farewell to our special guests.  Addressing clients and partners on the terrace, Poehler admitted their plan for “Broad City” was obvious. “We put our hands and heads together and said ‘see you in Cannes – with the sunshine…and the yachts’….and here we are.”

So as another MIP draws to a close, it was Jacobson and Glazer who summed up their first time to MIPTV and to Europe best by saying, “This trip has been crazy amazing….CRA-MAZING!”

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