TF1, France’s top commercial network, is joining forces with Netflix for the first time to co-finance “Le Bazar de la Charité,” a high-profile period series inspired by a real-life tragedy and written by Catherine Ramberg (“The Source”) and Karine Spreuzkouski.
Co-produced by Quad Télévision and TF1, the eight-part series unfolds in Paris in November 1897 and revolves around the consequences of a devastating fire which destroyed the building known as the Bazar de la Charité, where a large charity event was taking place. The fire caused more than 130 deaths, mainly high-society women and their entourages.
The series, which is being directed by Alexandre Laurent (“La Mante”), follows the romantic journey of three women, Adrienne De Lenverpre, Alice De Jeansin and her maid, Rose Rivière, who see their destinies turned upside-down from identity theft, forbidden love, betrayal and emancipation.
The cast is headlined by Audrey Fleurot (“Spiral,” “Intouchables”), Julie De Bona (“Le Tueur du Lac”), Camille Lou (“Les bracelets rouges”) and Josiane Balasko (double Cesar-winning actress), among others.
Now shooting, “Le Bazar de la Charité” is a massive French production requiring 3,000 extras, 1,500 costumes, more than 100 carriages, and 185 technicians.
TF1 Studio initiated the series and negotiated the deal with Netflix on behalf of Quad Télévision. Under the pact, which was announced Tuesday during Series Mania, TF1 will premiere “Le Bazar de la Charité” during the second half of 2019, while Netflix will start streaming the series on its service in France eight days after TF1 broadcasts the last episode. In the rest of the world, Netflix will stream the series the day after TF1 airs the last episode.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s content chief, said this new collaboration with TF1 “allows [Netflix] a further opportunity to give worldwide exposure to ambitious, high-quality French drama.”
“This unusual upstream agreement shows that we can find ingenious financing solutions to showcase French excellence, while bringing viewing pleasure to our members across 190 countries,” said Sarandos.
The alliance between Netflix and TF1 marks a milestone. TF1 is a major scripted player in France. The network held 42 of the 50 best drama ratings in 2018 and pulled top ratings earlier this year with “Les Bracelets rouges” and “Infidèle.”
“This is the first time Netflix has pre-financed an original series initiated by TF1 and the Quad Télévision production company. The link-up between TF1 and Netflix reflects the ambition around ‘Bazar de la Charité,’ a resolutely modern French costume drama super-production,” said Ara Aprikian, the executive VP of content at the TF1 group.
Aprikian said TF1 previously collaborated with Netflix on their acquisitions of “Une Chance de trop,” the first drama series adapted from a Harlan Coben novel, as well as TF1’s original drama “La Mante,” starring Carole Bouquet.
The TF1 exec said: “The deal lays down a framework for a fairer sharing of risks, rights and value between all the co-financing partners.”
Iris Bucher, the CEO of Quad Télévision, said the partnership with Netflix would shine an “international spotlight on a home-produced series with Paris as the backdrop.”
Netflix currently boasts more than 5 million subscribers in France, making the country a key international market. Earlier Tuesday, Netflix announced three documentaries (“Gims,” “Anelka” and “Move” – all working titles) and a film (“Of Earth and Blood”) during a panel with the heads of originals Sara May, Damien Couvreur, Diego Bunuel and Dominique Bazay.