France’s Virgin 17 captures ‘Eagle’

Spanish swashbuckler to air in primetime

MADRID — Burgeoning Gallic digital terrestial TV channel Virgin 17 has tied down Gallic rights to high-flying Spanish swashbuckler “Red Eagle,” the biggest TV drama hit in Spain.

V17 will put out the original Spanish version of “Eagle’s” 17-seg first season in primetime, according to Madrid-based Imagina Intl. Sales, which handles international rights on the series.

Deal underscores a larger appetite in Gaul’s DTT sector for buys beyond U.S. fare. Owned by the MGM Group, a subsid of conglom Lagardere Active, musicvid and fiction channel V17 already screens “24,” “The L Word” and “Weeds.”

“Eagle’s” pick-up comes as V17 continues to boost audience share. According to French TV aud measurement company Mediametrie, V17’s national TV market share rose 50% from 0.6% Feb. 2009 to 0.9% a year later.

Sale also rolls off “Eagle’s” spectacular ratings in Spain. Skedded Thursday primetime, and now in its second season, the family-skewed adventure-comedy is hitting huge shares of just under 30% for auds around six million.

“Eagle” turns on a school master by day and caped crusader by night who battles to save a 17th century Madrid from the forces of evil.

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