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MIPCOM: EuropaCorp Television Unveils Robust Drama Slate Including ‘Janus’

CANNES– The L.A.-based EuropaCorp Television Studios USA unveiled its drama slate at MIPCOM on Monday, leading with the pharmaceutical thriller series “Janus” which has been put into development at ABC.

Launched a year ago by Thomas Anargyros and Edouard de Vésinne and helmed by industry vet Matthew Gross, EuropaCorp Television USA is also developing the series “Taken,” a prequel to the popular movie franchise which is set up at NBC, and “These Final Hours,” an skein adaptation of the eponymous pre-apocalyptic film that played at Directors’ Fortnight last year.

Kevin O’Hare is writing the pilot, while Thor Freudenthal (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”) is on board to direct and exec produce.

“Janus” centers around Leo, a forensic psychologist married to a pharmaceutical researcher who refocuses his life to seek answers on how to help his son after being diagnosed as a psychopath. When a rash of murder-suicides breaks out, Leo teams up with a homicide detective.

The “Taken” show is being co-produced by EuropaCorp Television and Universal Television for the American network NBC. Universal will distribute internationally, while EuropaCorp handles distribution in France. Gross told Variety that the series will follow a young Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson’s character) as he obtains his particular set of skills. Gross told Variety that EuropaCorp TV was about to attach a well-known scribe who will deliver the script in January to start shooting in March.

Set up at FOX,”These Final Hours” is being penned by Zak Hilditch, the writer/director of the feature film. Hilditch will also direct and exec produce the pilot.

“These Final Hours” takes place in San Francisco, 12 hours before a world-ending meteor strike and follows three siblings who race to get to their estranged father’s bomb shelter which can withstand the end of days. “The series poses the question of not only what would you do, but how would you want to remember yourself if the world was ending,” said the company.

“This is the first major step for EuropaCorp Television Studios USA, and is noteworthy due to our creative and business success just one year after the arrival of Matthew Gross. Furthermore, it demonstrates the unique capability of EuropaCorp Television US in generating its own content and meeting the most rigorous and competitive demands of American networks,” said Anargyros and de Vésinne.

On top of those three projects, Gross said EuropaCorp currently has three other high-profile shows who are about to sell. The company is in negotiations with American cable networks for two of them. A major streaming service is in negotiations to acquire a third show. “This puts us ahead of where I thought we would be 12 months ago. In 2016, we should have two series in production.”

In terms of editorial line, Gross told Variety that the shows developed will be consistent with EuropaCorp’s brand which is all about high-voltage action movie and thrillers.

Gross said the company was mainly looking to develop projects from ground up and produce shows in-house, on top of selling them worldwide. He also noted EuropaCorp was open to collaborate on third-party producers.

EuropaCorp will also seek to replicate the direct-to-series model used on “Taken” which was picked up by NBC without going into pilot.

Although EuropaCorp TV U.S. is set up in Los Angeles, De Vesine said the company wasn’t a standalone operation but a key component of EuropaCorp. “The aim is to build synergies between Europe and the U.S. and tap into the company’s talent pool and IP’s,” said de Vesine.

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