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U.S. skeins dominate French primetime

American shows power TF1 ratings perf

PARIS — Gaul’s top commercial net TF1 hit ratings gold last year with U.S. drama series “The Mentalist,” “House,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy” nabbing 72 of the year’s 100 top rating scores.

TF1 took all but one of the top 100 slots, its best performance since 1991.

In contrast with its strong local film industry, France’s TV drama landscape is monopolized by American product. Out of Europe’s big five territories, Gaul is the only country where homegrown fiction is totally outgunned by U.S. dramas.

In the U.K. and Italy, the 15 best-performing fiction series are all locally produced. In Spain, local skeins rep up to 80% of titles in the top 15. However, in Germany, nine of the top 15 are U.S. procedurals, according to Eurodata TV Worldwide.

As Eurodata TV Worldwide’s Lorene Nowicki pointed out in the Scripted Series Report, “If TV was marked by the rise of U.S. series during the first 10 years of the 21st century, the second decade sees local shows taking back power in several countries and the growing success of series from the U.K.”

As France’s biggest consumer of high-profile American shows, TF1’s challenge is to pin down the next big drama hits to maintain its grip on primetime.

The network inked a first-look deal with Sony in July and picked up “Unforgettable” rolling off the L.A. Screenings. Through its deals with Warner and Universal, TF1 nabbed “Person of Interest” and Steven Spielberg-produced “Smash,” while it acquired J.J. Abrams’ “Alcatraz” from Fox.

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