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EuropaCorp pacts with TF1

Gallic broadcaster to commission drama series

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp Televisions has inked a co-development deal with Gaul’s leading commercial network, TF1, to produce English-language series aimed at the international market.

TF1 is looking to commission high-profile, mainstream dramas and team with international broadcasters in order to have more editorial control and own rights on the shows it airs, EuropaCorp TV’s co-topper Edouard de Vesine told Variety.

One of Gaul’s biggest buyers of U.S. skeins, TF1 has been topping French ratings every year with such procedurals as “The Mentalist” and “CSI” in primetime.

Pact marks a significant step forward for French drama as TF1 is a major player in the French TV landscape, de Vesine said. He added that the two companies already have “various projects in development and are discussing with German, U.K. and U.S. broadcasters who are interested in working with us.”

EuropaCorp TV is producing Jan Kounen’s miniseries “Flight of the Storks,” which has been commissioned by TF1 and is being sold by its sales arm, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels. Show is based on Jean-Christophe Grange’s crime novel.

Headed by de Vesine, Thomas Anargyros and Damien Couvreur, EuropaCorp TV has become the cornerstone of Besson’s company: It has achieved international recognition with series such as “XIII” and should rep around 16% of EuropaCorp’s revenues in 2011-12, per CEO Christophe Lambert.

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