Franco-German network Arte has commissioned French prodco Gedeon Programmes to make a documentary about Marie Tussaud, as the prodco expands its reach in France.
The Strange Theatre of Madame Tussaud (1x90′) tells the story of the French woman who in the 19th century used her wax modelling skills to launch a London museum that is still hugely popular.
Also in production with Gedeon are Looking For Pablo Picasso (1x90′), again for Arte, and Paris Over the Ages (1x90′/4x52′) for French net Planete+.
Meanwhile, pubcaster France 3 has picked up Gedeon project Swimming Beyond Borders (1x110′), which follows quadruple amputee Philippe Croizon in his attempt to swim across the four straits separating five continents.
Canal+ has taken Christmas Over The World (1x90′), a doc that looks at how five different families around the world celebrate the holidays.
“More than ever, French broadcasters are eager to get factual content for primetime broadcasting,” said Stéphane Milliere, president of Gedeon Programmes.
Gedeon last week launched a press agency, Docland Yard, to produce mid- to low-budget science, travel and investigative documentaries for pay-TV, satellite and DTT channels.
According to Milliere, the docs produced by Docland Yard will have budgets ranging from €40,000 (US$50,290) to €130,000.
Thibaut Martin, the previous editor-in-chief on DNA, a weekly Gedeon-produced science show for France 2, has been recruited to head the fledgling prodco.
Docland Yard is currently producing Sentinel Islands, a nature doc about the Caribbean, and Wings For Science, about a French couple travelling the world by air as they carry out scientific research, both for Ushuaia TV.
The prodco also has projects in contention with French channel Voyage and the newly launched doc network RMC Découverte.
This slate includes Living with Robots, about the world’s most advanced robots; On the Trail of Art, which follows fine-art forensics teams; and Resurrection Science, featuring scientists working on DNA sequencing and bio-molecular cloning, which has been pre-bought by Canada’s Quest channel.
Six more DTT channels will launch in France by the end of 2012, opening up more slots for documentaries in the country, according to Milliere.