Drama crisis prompts hiring

MADRID — Top-rating Gallic broadcaster TF1 has tapped Canadian producer Andre Beraud as artistic director of fiction. He will report to Takis Candilis, TF1’s head of French fiction and entertainment.

Beraud, who leaves Canuck production shingle Cirrus Communication, where he produced dramas and TV movies, will take up his new position in March.

TF1 will be looking to Beraud to help get its drama series mojo back.

His appointment comes after a clutch of major new French series, most of which were inspired by U.S. skeins, underperformed expectations at the commercial broadcaster.

“L’Hospital,” a medical drama in the style of “Grey’s Anatomy,” bowed to a 19% share in September, and was yanked after just six episodes.

Forensics drama “Section de reser-ches” and the “Desperate House-wives”-inspired “Suspectes” also disappointed.

Some critics accused TF1 of at-tempting too brutal a revolution, moving from traditional 90-minute to shorter format 52-minute series, and of trying to make American-style fiction with a fifth of U.S. budgets.

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