CANNES — French public channel M6 has won out in a local bidding war with Canal Plus for Showtime’s David Duchovny-starring series “Californication.”
M6 purchased the dramedy for a reported €100,000 ($141,350) per episode after Canal bowed out. M6 confirmed the buy but refused to comment on the price of the deal.
“We’re disappointed of course, but we’re not going to die over it,” said Sandra Ouaiss, Canal Plus head of acquisitions for foreign series. “It’s a shame; the show would have been a great fit for Canal Plus. But we eventually had to decide that it didn’t merit the price M6 is paying for it.”
But Canal Plus has snapped up a horde of other new U.S. series set to air on the network soon.
The Gallic broadcaster picked up ABC dramas “Dirty Sexy Money” and “The Reaper,” FX’s “Damages” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” NBC’s recent Emmy winner “30 Rock” and the CW sitcom “Aliens in America.”
“We’re going back to more audience-friendly programming geared toward young adults,” Ouaiss said.
Fresh off its recent U.S. premiere, “Money” is set to air during primetime on the network in the first half of 2008.
Ouaiss said the cost of series and the “privileged ties” between U.S. studios and certain Gallic networks are becoming more ubiquitous as consumer demand for U.S. product increases.
“There’s a rising pressure on the cost of U.S. series, that’s for sure,” she said. “Every network in France is putting aside its assets.”
M6, France’s most “Americanized” network, has been making an aggressive move to buy several popular U.S. hits in recent months, with recently acquired Disney sensation “High School Musical 2” set to air on the channel Oct. 27 during primetime.
M6 plans to air 15 new series in the 2007-08 season, including “Jericho,” “The Lost Room,” “Shark” and “Kyle XY.”
Canal Plus is expecting strong results for its recently acquired comedies set to air in a “primetime access” slot at 6:30 p.m. “The trend this year is definitely lighter fare,” Ouaiss said. “There’s a more sober wave in the fiction domain.”
All of Canal Plus’ programs will be available on a new Canal Plus on Demand service set to launch before year’s end.