Jean Reno's Detective Series 'Jo' Canceled
PARIS – After struggling with low ratings since its debut this spring, Jean Reno’s detective series Jo has been canceled after only one season.
The series, launched April 25 on TF1 and heavily promoted at MIPTV that month, averaged a disappointing 6.1 million viewers, with 7.5 million for its premiere but only 5.3 million for its latest showing. That's still roughly 25 percent of French viewers, but not enough to make up for its lavish production costs, at nearly nearly $2.64 million (€2 million) per episode.
Reno’s first foray into television saw the veteran actor solve crimes using his encyclopedic knowledge of history across the French capital and sought to exploit Paris’ instantly recognizable landmarks to increase its global cachet. Each episode was envisioned as a "mini Da Vinci Code" producers said, with every episode focused around an historical monument or neighborhood.
The international co-production was touted as part of the new model that would have global appeal; it was filmed in English and starred Canadian procedural regular Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order) and British actor Tom Austen (The Borgias) in an effort to expand its potential international viewer base.
The series was commissioned by TF1, known for its dominance in procedurals in France, where it also airs the various CSIs, House and The Mentalist to huge ratings. The show was conceived by former Law & Order executive producer Rene Balcer and modeled after American procedurals in story and scope, including shaving down the length of each episode to an average of 45 minutes to accommodate advertising instead of the longer 50-plus for typical French dramas. Reno had signed on for two seasons, and filming of the second season was expected to take place this summer.
Jo aired on RTBF in Belgium, Sat 1 in Germany, ORF in Austria and RTS in Switzerland. It debuted May 19 on Fox U.K. It is co-produced by Lagardere under its Atlantique Productions label and Belgium's Stromboli Pictures.