Many in the TV industry are still learning how to say Law & Order: Criminal Intent in French after last week’s NBC Universal deal with Gallic network TF1. Now comes word that Desperate Housewives may soon take a Hindi twist.
B&C hears that talks are under way to carry the Touchstone Television juggernaut from Hollywood to Bollywood. Yes, a localized version of Wisteria Lane for television viewers in India.
It would be the latest effort by Disney’s Buena Vista International Television and other studios to sell formats of successful series around the world. Selling formats allows producers to profit from their creations before other territories can steal—er, creatively interpret—them.
One country notorious for taking liberties with property rights is India, where the race is on to find a home for a locally formatted version of the ABC sensation. (A prospective partner, Zee Network, is already in business with Buena Vista, which has a multi-year licensing agreement with the broadcaster for theatrical and TV films.)
Another successful Touchstone entry, Grey’s Anatomy, could be next on Buena Vista’s formatting “to-do” list.
But there’s more: In June, the studio was talking about selling localized formats of Housewives in at least a half dozen countries south of the border, as long as they aired the U.S. version first. If that succeeds, there would be Spanish-language clones of Susan, Bree, Edie, Lynette and Gabrielle in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and either Colombia or Ecuador. Brazil was also said to be looking Desperate.
If this works, will Homer Simpson be next? Could the parody on the Web, The Singhsons, become a reality? We suggest Bollywood animators make the convenience-store clerk a redneck.