With practically no French-made fiction programming in stock, private web La Cinq has announced plans to invest 200 million francs ($40 million) in production this year.
Recently appointed head of fiction, Raymond Vouillamoz, has committed the network to producing 60 hours of primetime telefilms and a further 100 hours of 26 – or 15-minute pieces of fiction. Although titles have yet to be released, popular local thesps Richard Berry and Thierry Lhermitte are believed to be lined up for starring roles in an adventure pic.
The move marks a change of direction for the network, which has relied on American product for its primetime requirements. Since taking control of La Cinq in October, communications group Hachette has been voicing a commitment to developing the web’s production activities.
Per Vouillamoz, La Cinq is to up its investment in comedy, although he admits that finding quality scripts is proving difficult. Web is scheduled to screen a daily 15-minute sitcom starting this spring, as well as a Gallic adaptation of Yank series “Divorce Court.” Talks are continuing with Silvio Berluusconi’s Reteitalia over possible cooperation on a remake of “Angelique.”
Co-production looks like the order of the day. The latest series of the acclaimed police thriller “Maigret” was co-produced by La Cinq and pubcaster Antenne-2, with the latter getting first and third screening rights.
La Cinq management is continuing talks with the country’s youngest network, M6, about similar co-production agreements.