FremantleMedia Gets English-Language Rights to French Supernatural Thriller Series 'Les Revenants'

Paul Abbott - Head Shot - P - 2011

The company brings in "Shameless" creator and writer Paul Abbott for the remake.

LONDON -- FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) has snapped up rights to adapt the French supernatural thriller series Les Revenants into an English-language version.

The commercial and brand extension arm of FremantleMedia said the English adaptation, They Came Back (working title), will be produced by the multi-award-winning writer, creator and producer Paul Abbott and his company AbbottVision, with which FME has a first look deal.

Les Revenants tells the story of a group of men and women in a small Alpine village in the shadow of a vast dam; they find themselves in a state of confusion, trying to return to their homes. What they do not yet know is that they have been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back.

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Originally developed as a movie, Les Revenants was adapted for TV by producers Haut et Court for French pay TV channel Canal Plus.

The show launched in Autumn 2012, scaring up a sizable audience averaging 1.4 million viewers across eight one-hour episodes.

It is the most-watched Canal Plus original series.

FME will sell the English adaptation internationally.

Abbott described the scripts as "a fantastic distillation of the emotional content honed from the film and crafted into a five-star TV series, with highly rewarding expansion, suspense and depth."

Martin Carr, exec producer at AbbottVision, said: "There has been fierce international interest in the format and we are very fortunate to have been able to forge a relationship with Haut et Court through FME to take the series and remake it. It is a perfect fit for the AbbottVision brand."

Caroline Benjo and Jimmy Desmarais, producers at Haut et Court expressed delight at Abbott's involvement, describing him as "one of the most idiosyncratic and original writers."

Abbott's resume boasts the show Shameless, a hit in the U.K. and the U.S.

FremantleMedia produces such programs as Idols, co-produced with 19 Productions in the U.S., Hole In The Wall, Got Talent (co-produced with Syco in the U.K. and the U.S.) and The X Factor (co-produced with Syco in the U.K. and the U.S.).