New fiction division poaches Endemol exec

PARIS — Three years after launching its Gallic arm, U.K.-based producer Shine Group is bowing a fiction division, Shine Films France, and has tapped former Endemol exec Nora Melhli to run it.

Melhli will report to Shine France topper Thierry Lachkar and managing topper Bouchra Rejani.

Shingle will produce series and TV pics for French auds, as well as co-produce series with other Shine subsidiaries. The outfit’s drama portfolio includes “The Tudors,” “Real Humans” and “Ugly Betty.”

Shine Films France is already teaming with Shine’s U.K. shingle Kudos to produce a remake of Hans Rosenfeldt’s dark-edged cop skein “The Bridge.” Series has been commissioned by Canal Plus in Gaul and BSkyB in the U.K.

“With pay TV group Canal Plus expanding with two free-to-air digital networks — D8 and D17 — and the launch of HD1 by TF1, it seems a good time to start developing fiction for France,” said Tim Westcott, principal analyst, TV, at IHS Screen Digest. “There are great incentives to make drama in France because local channels have to invest in French and European content and they must fill these quotas.”

Lachkar said the creation of Shine Films France is an important step in the company’s diversification strategy.

“In three years, we’ve demonstrated our expertise in a variety of genre: talent shows, entertainment formats, magazines, documentaries and soon adventure games,” said Lachkar, referring to the French version of “The Amazing Race” commissioned by D8.

Melhli joins Shine France from Endemol, where she headed the fiction department for five years. Her production credits there include Antoine De Caune’s “Yann Piat: Chronique d’un assassinat,” a TV pic commissioned by Canal Plus.

Shine has relationships with various Gallic broadcasters, including leading commercial net TF1, which airs “The Voice,” “MasterChef” and “Baby Boom,” among Gaul’s best-rated reality programs.

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