TF1 head of fiction steps down

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PARIS -- TF1 deputy general director of programming and head of fiction Takis Candilis resigned Tuesday amid falling ratings despite his efforts to revolutionize the French fiction genre on the small screen.

At TF1 since 1999, Candilis attempted to change the face of French TV series last year with U.S.-style series in the 52-minute format, only to see the shows fail miserably.

The Candilis-initiated medical drama "L'Hopital" (The Hospital), a Gallic replica of "Grey's Anatomy," earned just 4 million viewers and a 19% market share in September and was pulled from the air after just six episodes. Other series, "Paris, Enquetes Criminelles," tabbed "the French 'Law & Order' " and forensics drama "Section de Recherches" also saw disappointing ratings.

The network has seen its ratings fall 30% since the end of 2007, mostly because of the threat of the increasingly popular digital terrestrial television format. France's top network boasted a 31.6% average market share in 2006, then fell to 30.7% in 2007, with last month's average 27.5%.

Candilis already has been appointed COO of production at Lagardere Entertainment, where he will be in charge of audiovisual production and artistic rights management. Current TF1 general director and head of acquisitions Laurent Storch, who joined the group in 1997, will assume Candilis' post as deputy general director of programming for the network.

"TF1 thanks Takis Candilis for these past nine years of very precious collaboration. His new responsibilities will allow us to pursue a fruitful partnership between the Lagardere and TF1 groups, notably in the fiction domain," TF1 group chairman and CEO Nonce Paolini said.
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