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Newen sets up drama format arm

MIPCOM: France’s Newen Group has launched a new division to focus on drama format adaptations for local broadcasters and international coproductions.

Laetitia Recayte

The move comes as Newen has been buying up both scripted and non-scripted format rights and prepares to push into the international drama business.

New subsidiary Hem Productions will be headed jointly by Newen Distribution’s MD Laetitia Recayte and veteran French drama producer Laurence Bachman.

Hem will focus on foreign drama adaptations for French broadcasters and international copros initiated abroad.

The group is also shopping French remake rights – with six series currently under negotiation – and looking to develop international copros for its various production subsidiaries. Consultants Charlotte Toledano-Detaille and Sandra Ouaiss are looking for available formats and drama copro opportunities respectively.

As for unscripted, Newen has picked-up French format rights to Australian talkshow Can of Worms, produced by Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder for Network Ten, which is being developed for primetime on an as-yet undisclosed French DTT channel.

The group has also taken French rights to extreme adventure gameshow Polar Circle from Holland’s Teve Media Group, part of Newen Network, together with Germany’s Bavaria Film and Spain’s Globomedia.

One of France’s leading production groups, Newen has produced 900 hours of content this year. The company was built up over the past four years by entrepreneur Fabrice Larue out of the acquisition of drama and unscripted programming group Telfrance, entertainment producer Be Aware and TV press agency, documentary and drama producer Capa.

“We have been looking to develop an R&D department at group level, as well as international sales with Newen Distribution, and secure access to international formats with our Newen Network,” said Larue, Newen’s CEO.

Can of Worms

The latter, described by Larue as a “club,” allows members to have a first look at each other’s formats. “We hope we will be able to announce new partners in Sweden, Israel and maybe the UK by the end of the year,” he said.

“Our strategy regarding formats is more pick and choose,” explained Alexandra Crucq, director of Newen’s R&D department. The group had a success recently on M6 with the primetime broadcast of pilot Pour le Meilleur et pour le Pire, hosted by model Adriana Karembeu and adapted from Armoza’s With This Ring. M6 is to commission more.

In non-scripted, the group’s R&D arm continues to invest in the development of paper formats, pitched to the international market and France simultaneously.

The strategy has paid off with gameshow Harry, first produced for Turkey’s ATV before being picked up by France 3, where the show has been renewed for a second season. Marketed internationally by Newen Distribution, Harry has just been optioned in the UK by Mentorn.

Newen is now developing another gameshow with Big Nose Productions, its partner on Harry, and has brought two paper reality formats to Mipcom. These are Big Beauty, an ‘XXL’ beauty pageant competition, and Dogchelor, a comedy reality show in which a woman’s suitors have to get along with her dog as well.

Meanwhile, the group has been strengthening its international sales arm, Newen Distribution, which now distributes all genres, including Capa’s recently added factual programming library.

In animation, Newen Distribution recently sold Mysterious Cities of Gold – a remake of Newen subsidiary Blue Spirit’s 1980s series made for TF1 – to Nickelodeon Northern Europe (including Germany), Kix in the UK and Panda in Portugal.

At Mipcom, the distributor is launching a new season to France 3 series The Blood of The Wine, taking the series to a total of 12 episodes. The first episodes have already been sold to MHZ in the US, which has ordered more.

Recayte also revealed that Newen has been in advanced talks about English-language adaptations of two France 2 series: Candice Renoir, the channel’s successful new police series about a housewife detective, and La Source, a spy drama starring Christophe Lambert.

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