[07/25/05 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Universal Television Distribution, Wolf Films and Tf1 Announce Unprecedented Format Deal for French Version of Wolf's Law & Order: Criminal Intent

[via press release from NBC Universal Television Studio]


New Frontier for the Hugely Successful Law & Order Brand

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- July 25, 2005 -- Ushering in a new volume in international television history, NBC Universal Television Distribution, Wolf Films and TF1 have announced an unprecedented format deal for TF1's Alma Productions to produce a localized French version of Law & Order creator/executive producer Dick Wolf's hit NBC series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, it was announced today by Dick Wolf, Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Universal Television Group, Frederick Huntsberry, Executive Vice President, NBC Universal Television Distribution and Takis Candilis, Head of Drama for TF1 and President, TF1 Production. The agreement marks the first international format deal for any U.S. procedural drama, and is a huge step in the global expansion of the Law & Order brand, the most successful in primetime U.S. television history, with 600 episodes and counting in production.

The French Law & Order: Criminal Intent series, scheduled to premiere in primetime on TF1 in 2006, is currently in pre-production in Paris and will initially adapt the original U.S. scripts, taking into account language, culture and the Napoleonic Code. The series is being produced by Alma Productions, on behalf of TF1, in association with NBC Universal and Wolf Films. In order to adapt the series for a French audience, Alma Productions' Maxime Lombardini will consult with Wolf's Law & Order: Criminal Intent creative team, including Wolf, executive producer/showrunner Rene Balcer, the show's writers and producers, along with NBC Universal's Vice President of International Sales and Format Production Leslie Jones.

"We have worked very closely with NBC Universal to develop new revenue streams for the Law & Order brand, and this is an enormous accomplishment as we continue to establish our global presence," Wolf commented. "The three Law & Order series have been sold in over 180 markets around the world, so clearly there is a tremendous appetite for the brand. By creating and producing a localized French version, the potential to grow that audience becomes limitless."

"This promising joint effort points to a new creative horizon and symbolizes what we want to accomplish with the global assets of NBC Universal," said Zucker. "Good procedural dramas such as the Law & Order series speak the same language everywhere, and this new version will put an exciting French touch on Dick Wolf's proven hit brand."

"We are thrilled to be joining forces with TF1, Dick Wolf and his creative team on this ground-breaking endeavor that will provide French viewers a very tailored viewing experience," said Huntsberry. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent marks the inaugural scripted effort from our new original content unit and we look forward to working with Dick and his team on future endeavors."

"For many years, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, as well as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has been a huge success for TF1," said Candilis. Taking these unique characters created by Dick Wolf and adapting them for French viewers in primetime will enable a whole new, and much larger, audience to enjoy this great drama. We're sure that it's the beginning of a long story."

Under the terms of the agreement, NBC Universal will retain exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the new French episodes, with the exception of French-speaking Europe, which will be handled by TF1's Alma Productions.

NBC Universal is a leader in providing entertainment programming to the domestic and international marketplaces. The NBC Universal Television Distribution division is responsible for the global distribution of NBC Universal product to all forms of television throughout the world. This includes distribution of current and library film and television product, including formats and non-scripted programming, in the pay, free, and basic markets, as well as the domestic syndication of first-run syndicated TV programs and theatrical and TV movie packages.

TF1 group is a diversified French communication group. It is composed of the French leading free-to-air channel (TF1) that generates 60% of the turnover of the group, more than 20 themed channels (incl. Eurosport), digital broadcast on satellite and ADSL with TPS, video business, merchandising and derivative products activities, internet, production and audiovisuals activities. TF1 group's turnover is around 2.9 Bn?. TF1 shares are listed on the Paris Stock Exchange "Premier March?" with ISIN code FR0000054900.

Wolf, among television's most respected drama series creator/producers, is the architect of one of the most successful brands in the history of television ? Law & Order. The franchise, from NBC Universal Television Studio and Wolf Films, which includes Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Trial By Jury, recently surpassed 600 episodes. The Law & Order branded series air an average of 45 times a week on the U.S. television networks NBC, TNT and USA Network and has been licensed in more than 180 countries around the world. Last year, the brand generated over one billion dollars in advertising revenue, and has spawned lucrative ancillary revenue from DVDs, books and video games and has become a cultural phenomenon.

  [july 2005]  


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