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Encore Television Distribution

Programming Profile

Feel-good focus for Encore International


Encore International is hoping to sell feel-good programming to a world looking to take its mind off the pandemic.


With the stress of the global pandemic hitting home, Montreal-based distributor Encore International – the sales arm of the Encore Group – is seeing an opportunity with buyers for uplifting content that can ease the mind and warm the heart.


“We need to sell programming that is uplifting, that offers a good mood, good values, that people can watch on streaming or via linear TV, but which is relaxing and fun,” explains Chrystine Girard, Encore International’s head of international distribution.


“What came as a surprise is there’s a demand for shows that are bit older (five even eight years old) because people are looking for something that reminds them of the good old times. We need to have something that takes our minds off the current pandemic situation, and that translates into the type of product that we are selling.”


Chrystine Girard,
Encore International

As such, Encore is leaning into its portfolio of comedy programming, which includes five seasons of TVA series Boomerang (60×22’), four seasons of Radio-Canada series Freefall (aka Lâcher Prise, 52×22’), and three seasons of Les Beaux Malaises (33×22’), which also aired on TVA.


“The core of our business is geared around talent,” says Girard. “Take Martin Matte, for instance, with Les Beaux Malaises. Originally, he was a stand-up comedian and he wanted to go into television, Encore supported him so he could develop Les Beaux Malaises, a series that was produced by Encore. And we ended up with this huge, 45%-market-share series, three seasons, 35 awards around the world… it’s crazy. And we’re still selling it right now, worldwide.”


The show has been billed as French Canada’s answer to Seinfeld. “Part of its appeal is that it’s based on something that’s evergreen, that won’t change over time. It’s about family, it’s about your kids, it’s about taboos – talking about sex and everything – but it’s never anything too edgy.”


The Complicated Life of Lea Olivier
The Complicated Life of Lea Olivier

Girard also highlights Boomerang, which, as with many of Encore’s titles, is being sold as both a format and as ready-made tape. Now in its fifth season and numbering 60 episodes overall, the situational comedy centres on the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of adults moving back in with their parents, whether it be because of a life setback or in a bid to offset financial stress, or just to help ease them into their golden years.


“One of the beauties of formats is that a number of local productions were completed before the lockdown,” Girard says. “Boomerang is one of them, in terms of both format adaptation and also for the ready-made version. You have a number or territories where the rights were sold prior to the lockdown and production has already started; in Sweden, for example, their local version was completed in time.


For Sarah
For Sarah

“But even in parts of the world that are still in lockdown, a lot of producers want to hold on to their writers, so they’re optioning the show and starting adaptation in preparation for the after-pandemic. And Boomerang is a very good example of that.”


Rounding out the playlist are kids series The Complicated Life of Lea Olivier (12×22’), an adaptation of the book written by Catherine Girard-Audet that has been commissioned for a second season by TVO (Club Illico) and TFO; and Crave teen dramedy Forever and a Day (14×22’).


Also aimed at teens is lifeguards series Jérémie (90×22’), in production on its fifth season for Vrak; and high-school drama The Academy (30×22’), airing for three seasons on Club Illico and TVA.


The Fisher King Race
The Fisher King Race

For young adults, there is For Sarah (6×52’), the French series which aired on TF1, an adaptation from Encore’s original (10×45’) which originally aired on TVA, about a 17-year-old woman who has a car crash; and Runaway (10×45’), about a girl who runs away from home to be with an aspiring musician with a toxic lifestyle.


On the Crime and Investigation front, Encore has on offer Crime Stories (26×45’), commissioned for a fourth season by ICI Radio Canada Télé.


Encore also has a good offer on the factual front with The Fisher King Race (8×45’), an exceptional Télé-Québec series about lobster fishermen; and The Good Life with Go-Van (13×24’), a travel series which proposes alternative lifestyles, starring adventurer Julien Roussin Côté.

More programming profiles

  • 16-11-2022

    Chrystine Girard, head of international distribution at Quebec’s Encore Group, outlines her company’s international programming strategy and plans for Content London 2022.


    Please can you give me a brief outline of your company and its activities?
    Encore Television-Distribution is the distribution arm of Encore, a multi-award-winning integrated entertainment group. Encore is one of the most prolific production companies in scripted series (comedy and drama), live comedy specials, live plays and artist management in French Canada.


    With nearly 500 hours produced over the last 20 years, Encore Television has multiplied the production of award-winning TV series praised on both the local and global markets. Encore Television-Distribution manages all exploitation rights to Encore’s full content library for international content licensing and format adaptations, as well as the company’s third-party series (drama, youth, documentary and factual) by prominent Quebec producers such as Sovimage, Urbania, Trio Orange, Telefiction, Passez-Go and Trinôme & filles.

  • 11-11-2021

    Chrystine Girard, head of international distribution at Montreal-based Encore International, talks about changing global demand for Quebec content, her new programmes on C21’s Digital Screenings and Encore’s global expansion plans.


    How has your company’s content strategy changed after the events of the past 18 months?
    If we look back to how we did business before the pandemic and compare it with now, some 18 months later, the ‘before and after’ hasn’t changed that much; it’s during the pandemic that we had to adjust. We had to find efficient ways to bring our content to the market, to get the buyers’ attention and to ‘feel’ the market – something you cannot do through a computer screen.


    During that period, indeed, video conferencing did help, but only up to a point. At the beginning of the pandemic, as nobody knew what lay ahead and for how long, and with productions put to a halt, unsurprisingly, acquisitions increased. After a few months, though, even though we were still pitching virtually, we saw a slowing of the decision-making process.