×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mediaset España Buys France 2’s Hit Skein “Witnesses”

Spanish TV giant opens up to European TV fiction acquisitions

MADRID — Marking a significant step towards diversification of its international TV drama sources, Spain’s TV giant Mediaset España has acquired French procedural skein “Les temoins” (“Witnesses”) to air shortly on Cuatro, its second most-watched channel.

The first season of “Witnesses” will land in Spain after becoming an international sales hit for France’s company Newen Distribution, which sold the drama in more than 25 territories, including Channel 4 in the U.K. and Netflix in North America.

Created and directed by Herve Hadmar and Mar Herpoux, the duo behind critically-acclaimed skein “Pigalle, la nuit,” the six-part mystery thriller series was originally commissioned by French pubcaster France 2 from Fabienne Servan-Schreiber‘s production house Cineteve.

In its debut in France in March 2015, “Witnesses” scored more than six million viewers, the best result for a French TV drama aired by France 2 in five years. The series also won TV France International’s export prize for best drama.

For Mediaset España, deal represents an early bet on European TV fiction at a broadcast network whose its international drama acquisitions has traditionally focused on U.S. productions.

”European TV series’ quality has grown dramatically; they have nothing to envy to those of the U.S.,” said Mediaset España head of acquisitions Ghislain Barrois.

“Some 16 years ago, the only way to get TV dramas -high-budget productions- was to buy them from the U.S. majors. Now the market has changed, and new players with different storytelling approaches have arrived,” he added.

Set in the North of France, “Witnesses” turns on a passionate and resilient female cop, Sandra Winckler, who investigates a wave of strange murders linked to Paul Maisonneuve, a crime squad legend who is now retired but forced to return to duty.

“In Spain, what’s probably happening with European TV dramas is what’s already happened with Spanish TV fiction: The stories are closer to the TV audience that those that come from the U.S.,” Barrois said.

A “Witnesses” second season is currently in production, and scheduled for a spring 2017 release on France 2.

More TV

  • 'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty

    'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty on Charles and Anne 'Breaking the Mold'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Crown” Season 3 on Netflix. The arrivals of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) midway through “The Crown’s” third season infuse the show with a youthful energy reminiscent of the first two years. But, they also offer a sense of rebelliousness, [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    Harry Styles Premieres New Song, Plays Trash-Eating Dog on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (Watch)

    The past couple of seasons of “Saturday Night Live” have seen some impressive hosting/musical performer double-duty stints, including Childish Gambino, Halsey and Chance the Rapper — and last night Harry Styles was more than up to the challenge. The singer appeared in nearly every skit — including turns as a naïve office intern, a gangster, [...]

  • Mindy Kaling Actors on Actors

    Why Mindy Kaling Turned to Social Media to Find the Lead of Her Netflix Series

    Constance Wu (“Hustlers”) and Mindy Kaling (“Late Night”) explained how the internet helped expand the casting pool for their projects during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” Wu began the interview: “When I did ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and they were looking for actors, it was crazy how many people said, ‘Well, there are [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    'Saturday Night Live' Turns the Impeachment Hearings Into a Soap Opera (Watch)

    “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its Nov. 16 episode with a take on the biggest news story of the previous week (and foreseeable future): the impeachment hearings. But another big story of the week, especially in Hollywood, was how NBC’s last remaining daytime drama, “Days of our Lives,” had let its actors out of their [...]

  • Andy Cohen attends BravoCon's "Watch What

    'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' to Debut in 2020

    Bravo announced Saturday during its first annual BravoCon that a tenth “Real Housewives” series, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” will debut in 2020. Bravo host and “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen made the announcement during a panel titled “Ask Andy” at the NYC convention. “We’ve always tried to choose a city that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content