BBC Worldwide adds France to prod'n base

First outpost in Europe outside U.K.

LONDON -- BBC Worldwide is hoisting its flag over France with the launch of a production base in Paris, its first in Europe outside the U.K.

After the success of such British formats as "The Weakest Link," "Top of The Pops" and "The Office" on French airwaves, the British pubcaster's commercial division now wants to make its own shows for French TV.

With a roster of world-beating formats including "Dancing With the Stars," the BBC has been growing its overseas production steadily in recent years. The Paris office is the latest addition to a network of production bases in Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai, Toronto and Sydney.

The French office will be headed by Jean-Louis Blot, director of BBC Worldwide France, who will report to BBC Worldwide's head of formats Colin Jarvis.

"Establishing a thriving production base in this major European territory fits into our strategy to position BBC Worldwide as a leading global content network," Jarvis said. "Through the success of our sales and distribution office, BBC Worldwide enjoys a strong relationship with all of the major broadcasters in France and we look forward to extending this to local production."