Gallic web grabs gold in U.S. fiction

M6 lineup includes 'Housewives,' 'Commander,' 'Prison Break'

Gallic commercial web M6 is tipping its chapeau to American webs, unveiling an upcoming foreign fiction lineup that includes “Desperate Housewives,” “Commander in Chief” and “Prison Break.”

“In the last three or four years, with reality TV dominating TV lineups, U.S. studios have put more money and creativity into developing innovative fiction,” M6 veep Thomas Valentin said. “Now, M6 wants to share this breath of fresh air with the French public.”

Of 14 new series to air on the web over the next nine months, 12 are American, including “Bones,” “Numbers,” “The Unit,” “Killer Instinct” and “Revelations.”

But special attention was reserved in Valentin’s announcement last week for Disney skein “Desperate Housewives,” Geena Davis starrer “Commander in Chief” and “Prison Break.”

M6 is hoping “Housewives” will do for it what it did for paybox Canal Plus, which saw its Thursday evening primetime ratings double when the show debuted last fall.

M6 was the first terrestrial web in Gaul to showcase American series in primetime on Friday and Saturday nights.

Subsequently, rival web TF1 has had success with U.S. programming, including “Law and Order” and “CSI.” “CSI: Miami” notched up 9 million viewers when it bowed last fall.

The competition has driven up the pricetag and hustle needed to procure U.S. fiction, explaining the fanfare with which M6 unveiled its U.S. lineup.

The web played up its past successes including “Ally McBeal,” “X-Files,” “The 4400,” “NCIS” and — poking a little fun at itself — its long-running love affair with “Little House on the Prairie.”