French network picks up $20 mil mini from Endemol

FROM MIP TV
CANNES — French private network TF1 closed its first major deal of the Mip television market Tuesday by acquiring the $20 million mini-series “Joan of Arc” from Endemol Entertainment of Holland.

TF1 insiders said the acquisition is in line with the network’s policy of programming “event” shows for primetime.

Co-production

The four-hour miniseries, which airs on CBS in May, is directed by Christian Guguay and stars Leelee Sobieski as Joan of Arc and Chad Willett as Jean de Metz. Endemol co-produced the mini with Alliance Atlantis, with the Dutch company taking European rights.

Under the guidance of Hedy van Bochove, exec VP of acquisitions and development, Endemol is becoming increasingly involved in co-financing and co-producing of international drama.

Making an exception

Acquiring non-French drama for primetime is relatively rare for TF1, partly because of Gallic quota laws that require broadcasters to air at least 40% local product and partly because locally made shows, particularly cop shows, continue to draw big audiences.

The web also favors one-off drama rather than miniseries, although last year’s Franco/Italian mini “The Count of Monte Cristo,” starring Gerard Depardieu, was a huge ratings winner for the network.

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