France Televisions’ Manuel Alduy Unveils Pubcaster’s Prestige International Shows, Greater Gender Parity (EXCLUSIVE)

Less than two years after joining France Televisions, former Canal Plus executive Manuel Alduy has contributed to bolstering the French public broadcaster’s roster of international series with shows such as “Bardot,” a mini-series biopic of Brigitte Bardot, and “L’Insoumise” about Alice Guy, the first female filmmaker ever.

Ahead of France Televisions’ press conference at Series Mania, Alduy said the broadcaster’s first-look initiative with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has yielded several prestige projects, including “Bardot.” The EBU regroups 100 members across the continent, including the BBC in the U.K., ARD in Germany, DR in Denmark, SVT in Sweden, Rai in Italy and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation.

“Bardot” charts the life of the French actor and model from 1949, when she first appeared on the cover of a magazine, to the birth of her son in 1960. It’s being produced by Federation Entertainment with France Televisions in France, and has been boarded by Mediaset in Italy, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland, DR in Denmark and NRK in Norway, among others. Netflix has second window rights in some territories.

The stars-packed series was penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Danièle Thompson (“La Reine Margot”) and is being directed by Christopher Thompson (“Tendre et saignant”). Victor Belmondo, Yvan Attal, Géraldine Pailhas and Hippolyte Girardot star in “Bardot,” according to an industry source.

Other ambitious international series unveiled by the TV group include “L’insoumise,” which France Televisions is co-developing with Wild Bunch TV. The series was penned by Jean-Jacques Annaud (“Notre Dame on Fire”) and Tim Loane (“Das Boot,” “Marcella”) and revolves around Guy’s tumultuous romance with Herbert Blaché. It will chronicle their rise to prominence in France and their move to the U.S. where Guy ultimately struggled to impose herself in the shadow of her husband.

Alduy, who worked at Canal Plus Group for 22 years before joining Twentieth Century Fox in 2016, said France Televisions also still part of the European Alliance alongside ZDF and Rai and France Televisions. The trio of broadcasters just launched a call for projects with the European Producers Club (EPC) in build an exciting slate. Together with the EPC, the Alliance sourced about 35 projects who had some international potential and preselected around 10 of them out of the previous edition of Series Mania.

The executive said that going forward, the broadcaster’s international co-production slate will have a lesser emphasis on thrillers and cop shows and will boast more adventure, fantasy or current-issue series.

“Through the Alliance, we produced “Around The World in 80 Days,” “Germinal” and “Leonardo” through the alliance during the first stage of our international expansion and looking at how they performed, some of them were perhaps too similar to the shows that are part of our French slate,” said Alduy.

Alduy said France Televisions’s biggest source of pride this year was the larger proportion of fiction programs boasting female talents in front and behind the camera. “Our president Delphine Ernotte pledged to increase the gender parity in our programs a year ago and the results are there — we now have 32% of our series and TV movies directed by women,” said the executive.

Ernotte, who presides over both the EBU and France Televisions, said the broadcaster aimed at “giving all French people a free and universal access to ambitious content thanks to the unique diversity of its offer.”

“Our mission to work with every talents, either well-established or emerging, allows us to reflect French society in all its diversity and keep our leadership in an ever-changing world,” added Ernotte. France Televisions just became the official media partner of the Cannes Film Festival along with the social media group Brut.

France Televisions is also a major sponsor of Series Mania Festival where it’s presenting this year “ReuSSS,” “Chair tendre” and “Hors saison” in the official selection.

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