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BBC Worldwide inks French deals

'Week Without Electricity,' 'Romeo' formats launched

BBC Worldwide France has inked a deal with Gallic pubcaster France Televisions on “A Week Without Electricity” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Former is a twist on “The Week the Women Went,” which bowed in March on France Televisions, marking the pubcaster’s first venture into reality TV. It will follow people in the same apartment block who have agreed to live without power.

“About 80% of our electricity comes from nuclear energy so we think this program will not only entertain but also make people reflect on current events, notably the Fukushima disaster,” said Jean Louis Blot, director of BBC Worldwide Prods. France, who describes the show as a docu-reality hybrid. The host of “A Week Without Electricity” will live with the block’s tenants.

“Romeo and Juliet” is an original format developed by BBC Worldwide France that brings together high school students from an upscale Paris neighborhood and an underprivileged suburb to perform in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. BBC Worldwide France is casting the 20 or so students who will act, dance and sing under the direction of helmer Alain Sachs.

“It’s a large-scale project that can introduce younger audiences to (high) culture,” Blot said.”We’re creating original songs, choreographies and costumes for the program.”

Host Hicham Nazzal will follow the teens through casting and three months of rehearsal. The play will be staged at the Odeon Theater in Paris in December, and will air live on France 2. BBC Worldwide France also inked deals with commercial net TF1 and Franco-German channel Arte.

Arte commissioned “Photo for Life,” a five-part show based on BBC’s format “Design for Life,” while TF1 picked up the second season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

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