Banijay bows reality division in France

Florence Fayard to be managing director

PARIS — Banijay Prods. France has launched a reality content division and tapped inhouse producer Florence Fayard as its managing director.

Fayard joined Banijay in 2010 to develop and produce “Dilemme,” which was a ratings hit on Gallic DTT channel W9. She will work alongside Lucie Cabourdin, who will be in charge of development.

The new division was prompted by the success of series, “Les Ch’tis,” riffing on 2008 hit pic, “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (Welcome to the Sticks), a fish-out-or water tale in which a city postal worker moves to a rural northern town.

Banijay’s “Les Ch’tis a Ibiza” recruited eight young DJs, dancers and bar staff from a small town in France and left them to fend for themselves on the island of Ibiza, one of the world’s party hotspots.

The show was a hit for W9, which ran a second series “Les Ch’tis font du ski.” A third season, “Les Ch’tis a Mykonos,” is shooting, while a fourth season set in Las Vegas is being prepped.

Format is being sold by Banijay Intl. under the title “Party Workers.”

Alexia Laroche-Joubert, who co-heads Banijay Prods. France with Lionel Valaneix, said the shingle is in negotiations to sell “Party Workers” to a Swedish channel and Constantin Entertainment in Germany.

Laroche-Joubert added that a Middle Eastern shingle was acquiring more than 60 episodes of Banijay’s “On Stage With My Idol.”

“In the current economy, it’s crucial for Banijay to create new formats because we can sell them internationally and generate some upside from revenue sharing,” Laroche-Joubert told Variety.

The new division aims to creation and sell at least three formats a year to local channels, said Laroche-Joubert. The division has three skeins in development, including one that’s been sold to a French net.

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