MIPCOM: Eyeworks entertainment format Celebrity Splash and Sony drama series The Client List have become TF1′s latest acquisitions.
The pick-ups were announced by the French channel today in Cannes, with Benoit Louvet, group executive VP for acquisitions and distribution, talking up the net’s role in France’s changing TV landscape.
“We are the most important rights buyer,” said Louvet. “We have output deals with Warner Bros, Universal and Sony, and strong relationships with others, such as CBS with the CSI franchise and Disney with Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds and, soon, Revenge.”
“The Mentalist and Criminal Minds returned in primetime to eight million viewers and we’ve prepared for the end of CSI: Miami and House,” added Sophie Leveaux, artistic director for TF1 drama acquisitions and international copros. “Last year we acquired Sony’s Unforgettable and Warners’ Person of Interest, while Dallas is very much awaited by French audiences.”
Investing in international drama coproductions is a new direction at TF1, which this morning confirmed a TV adaptation of Luc Besson’s movie franchise Taxi.
Furthermore, Lagardère Entertainment’s English-language drama Jo, starring Jean Reno, is in production for TF1, and the net is coproducing Tandem Communications’ Crossing Lines, with Ed Bernero (Criminal Minds) as showrunner.
As regards entertainment, “We are looking for shows that can build audience loyalty,” said Fabrice Bailly, deputy programming director and head of entertainment. “The audience has developed an appetite for character-driven series, either scripted or unscripted.”
Returning this season in primetime are the successful formats MasterChef, Dancing With The Stars (which launched on Saturday to a 28% share), Koh Lanta and The Voice.
Last year, TF1 looked to strengthen its early access primetime zone by testing Four Weddings (ITV Studios France) at 17.30 and Four in A Bed, a Studio Lambert format adapted by Coyote.
Both have been renewed and the strand will now become permanent, Bailly revealed. Among the new shows for the slot is TF1 Productions’ Coup de Foudre Au Prochain Village, an adaptation of Banijay Entertainment’s Babes in the Bus, which was shot this summer.
Another slot the channel is looking to develop is post-23.00. Shine France’s Baby Boom (aka One Born Every Minute) is currently in season two, while TF1 will test The Audience, from ITV Studio France. “Format adaptations require time,” Bailly noted.
TF1′s recently cancelled the volume deal it used to have with Endemol France, which has given it more flexibility to work with other producers. However, it renewed Secret Story from Endemol.