French pubcaster reveals plans for int'l co-productions

Pubcaster France Televisions is launching a flurry of higher-bracket English-lingo TV skeins via international co-productions.

Partnering with mini-major Gaumont, pubcaster is producing a 90-minute pilot for “Jack of Diamonds,” co-produced by Montreal’s Muse Entertainment and German net ZDF Enterprise. Thriller-comedy about a master thief was pre-bought by Canadian net Global TV.

French thesp Jean-Yves Berteloot toplines as a master thief who trains a younger man to be his partner. Show is helmed by Herve Renoh and scripted by Peter Hume and Pierre Colin Thibert.

FT is also co-developing two historical miniseries, including its first with HBO. Based on Barbara W. Tuchman’s novel “Guns of August,” “August 1914″ is a four-part skein set on the eve of WWI. It’s co-produced by HBO, the BBC, France’s GMT, Germany’s Beta and Austria’s ORF. “Eleanor of Aquitaine,” a four-parter about the 12th century woman who became queen of France and England, is produced by FT, GMT, Beta and the BBC. Show centers on Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England, who played a key role in the diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

“We place a big emphasis on shows dealing with history and heritage, so ‘August 1914′ and ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’ fit perfectly with our editorial line,” said Sophie Gigon, head of international co-productions at France Televisions.

International co-productions give France Televisions the opportunity to create high-profile shows, and represent a smaller investment than French series, said Gigon.

In December, the BBC and FT announced they would partner on “Death in Paradise,” an eight-part police show set in the Caribbean.

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