Chris Ottinger, president of Distribution and Acquisitions at MGM Worldwide, spoke to ttvnews about the company’s catalog for Mipcom 2019 and its strategy to develop original fiction content in Latin America.
Premiered in April of 2018, Luis Miguel, the Series was definitely one of the most successful Spanish-language productions of the past year, relaunching the Mexican singer’s career and generating a new popularity for him in Latin America and Spain.
However, time has gone by and there haven’t been any announcements thus far in terms of more seasons for the show, with rumors regarding its cancellation. That is, until now.
In an interview with ttvnews, Chris Ottinger, president of Distribution and Acquisitions at MGM Worldwide, confirmed the series will not only have a second season, but there are already deals signed and the new season is now in pre-production.
“Luis Miguel will definitely have a second season,” he said. “We’ve closed deals a while ago and we are now in pre-production,” he added.
According to the executive, they’ve also closed deals with broadcasting partners (season one aired on Netflix and Telemundo), although he “can’t comment on it” at this time.
A few months ago, MGM opened a new office in Miami for Latin America. What have been the results thus far and what are the main goals behind it?
Our Miami offices were a strategic step for us. We seek to increase our presence in Latin America. Projects like the Luis Miguel series or the movie Overboard (Amor a la deriva in Spanish) with Eugenio Derbez, really proved that the more we invest in Latin America, the more we benefit, so we decided to focus our efforts in that direction.
Which projects are you currently working on?
The first step was opening the office, and now we’re aggressively developing shows and movies for the market. To do so, we hired an executive who specializes in local productions, who’s working to build our pipeline of original content. Over the next few months, we’ll be making several announcements. We are very excited with the business we’re building in Latin America.
What’s the development process like?
Is it all through an internal team or do you work with producers? We’re working with creators, producers and showrunners. We are creating things with Gato Grande for premium dramas, as well as with third parties. We want to be number one in premium drama and local films in the market. And it takes a little time to build that business, but we saw the power of local products through ‘Luis Miguel’ and ‘Overboard’ and we really believe in that business, so we are doing evetything we can to push it forward.
What type of content are you looking for?
We are always going to be aiming at high-end products. That’s MGM’s modus operandi. If you look at our shows, they are all in that category. But specifically for Latin America, we want shows that are going to be able to air in prime time on free TV across the region. ‘Luis Miguel’ is a good example. It’s a premium product that can also air on free TV. That’s our model. We want a better product mix, with free TV partners.
Speaking of Luis Miguel, will there be a second season?
A second season is definitely coming, we closed deals a while ago and we are in pre-production. We also have the broadcasting partners, but I can’t comment on it yet. We must wait for the official announcements.
And in regard to movies, what exactly are you looking for?
A strategy we’re exploring is looking within our own IPs to produce high-end films for the region.
What will MGM be presenting at Mipcom 2019?
On TV we are really following up the May screenings launch of our show Four Weddings and a Funeral, which already aired on Hulu. We closed one big deal that we’ve announced, a multi-territory deal with RTL Group. They bought the show in France for M6, Antena 3 in Spain and RTL in Germany. I think it’s the first multi-territory deal that RTL has done. And we are very close in other deals as well.
We are really excited for ‘Four Weddings’, it’s hitting the market in the right time and in the right way. Everyone is looking for this blue sky, positive feeling type of shows right now and we had a great one just at the right time. We are now looking forward to getting a season two order out of Hulu pretty soon.
What other titles will you be bringing to Cannes?
We also have a new season of Fargo, season 6-A and 6-B of Vikings, and Handmaid’s Tale, which has been greenlit for season 4. The big hits that we have are continuing nicely.
And what about unscripted?
On the unscripted side we are moving forward with our TKO and its adaptation for Televisa. I know there are new countries going to the hub to produce their own versions. We also have Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?’s relaunch, one of the most successful game shows ever, which is launching on VH1. And then the other big one is Generation Gap with Jimmy Kimmel for ABC. So we have three big formats that are super active and alive.
And what about films?
This year we’ll be doing something very special around James Bond. In April we’ll be launching ‘No Time to Die’, the 25th movie in the franchise, so our stand will be James Bond-themed, very cool. That’s the big one, but we’ll also take the new Adam’s Family, which will premiere in October; the Aretha Franklin biopic and the new Jordan Peele movie, the remake of Candyman.