TF1 finds room in ‘The Grand’

Gallic broadcaster to co-produce Balcer cop show

CANNES — French web TF1 will co-produce “Law and Order” showrunner Rene Balcer’s “The Grand,” a Paris-set, English-language cop show toplining Jean Reno.

“It’s our first international production and our first collaboration with Jean Reno in a TV series,” said Laurent Storch, joint topper of TF1 Prods., at a luncheon hosted at the Majestic Hotel on Sunday at MipTV in Cannes. “We have strong ties with Jean: we co-produced many of the films he’s starred in, from ‘The Professional’ to ‘The Crimson River.’ ”

“It will be an exciting challenge to play such a multi-faceted character in a TV show that is truly international,” said Reno. “Today there are no barriers between cinema and television and you can have a French actor play in an English-language series written by a world-renown showrunner and produced by a French company.”

Atlantique Prods., the Gallic outfit behind Tom Fontana’s costumer “Borgia,” is producing the first season of eight hourlongs.

Each episode will spotlight an iconic Paris location and will have an estimated budget of €2 million ($2.6 million), said producer Klaus Zimmermann. “The Grand,” repped by SevenOne Intl., had already received offers from German and Italian broadcasters.

“It will be a true cop show where Paris will play an important role as it did in the ‘Da Vinci Code,’ ” explained Zimmermann.

But Balcer, who will collaborate with French TV scribes Franck Ollivier and Malina Detcheva, said he didn’t want “The Grand” to be filmed like a National Geographic Channel program. “It will have an edge,” he added.

The cast, which will be announced in May, will feature mostly British thesps and a few French actors, said Balcer. Shooting will start in summer.

TF1 also announced the acquisition of ABC’s Mike Kelley-created “Revenge,” starring Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe.

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