PARIS — Celebrating its first anniversary, ITV Studios France, the Paris-based production division of the U.K. broadcaster, is launching a flurry of original programs, from fiction dramas to docus and non-scripted shows.
“Our primary mission was to adapt ITV Studios’ catalog in France and develop commercial relationships with French networks, which is what we’ve been doing: We’ve signed format deals with seven networks, including M6, TF1 and France Televisions’ channels,” explained ITV Studios France’s prexy Francois Florentiny. “We’ve also positioned ourselves as producers of content for France and for the international marketplace.”
ITV Studios France is developing a contempo action drama series set to be helmed by Gallic director Pierre Morel, whose credits include Liam Neeson starrer “Taken.” The series, which comprises 12 one-hour episodes, will take place in various cities across Europe.
Florentiny said the studio is in talks with a French channel. Show marks Morel’s first TV project.
The French shingle has also teamed with ITV Studios in the U.S. to co-develop an English-language TV drama based on Jenny Gucci’s chick lit novel, “The Gucci Wars: How I Survived Murder and Intrigue at the Heart of the World’s Biggest Fashion House.” The series is now at script stage.
ITV Studios France recently inked a deal with Canal Plus for the pilot development of “Le Show de +” (“Not Just Another Show”), a sitcom comedy toplining French comic Thomas Ngijol (“Ils se Foot du Monde”). Currently at script stage, the skein takes place behind-the-scenes at a French TV net.
Another fiction project set up at ITV Studios France is a 90-minute TV pic based on “Confession d’un banquier pourri: La crise financiere vecue de l’interieur” (Confessions of a Crooked Banker: The Financial Crisis Experienced from Within), an autobiography penned by Cresus, an anonymous French banker who was laid off in the aftermath of the 2008 stock market crash. Talks are ongoing with French pubcaster France Televisions.
ITV Studios France also acquires third-party formats. Florentiny said the outfit is in negotiations with CBS to acquire the rights to “Next Top Model.” It also has picked up the rights to “Target Hapiness,” a docu-reality series created by Israel’s Bdalak Prods. and adapted in Scandinavia.
In other news, Florentiny has signed a deal with Canal Plus-owned Cuisine TV (the equivalent to the Food Network) to co-develop a TV mag comprising 10 26-minute episodes hosted by Olivier Magny, a French sommelier who will visit the world’s finest wine regions. The program will have a French version and an international one shot in English.
Since launching ITV Studios France’s Paris office a year ago, Florentiny has hired more than 35 staffers, and recently brought in Nicolas Deschamps to head the documentary division and launch French and international co-productions.
Some of the high-profile docus in development include two science-themed programs: “The Human Quest,” directed and presented by Christophe Galfard, who previously co-wrote Discovery Channel International doc “Beyond the Horizon,” and “Extremophiles,” a miniseries mixing live-action and 2D animation, centering on complex organisms that can only exist in extreme conditions. “Our goal is to attract the young adult demo to watch science documentaries with new subjects, and a fresh narrative and aesthetic approach,” Deschamps said.