French Streamer Salto Picks Up Dark Quebec Comedy 'Happily Married'

Cineflix Rights
'Happily Married'

The 1970s-set show, which premiered at Berlinale Series, is one of the first international acquisitions by the new SVOD service set up by French broadcasters TF1, M6 Group and France Télévisions to challenge Netflix.

Salto, the new French streaming platform launched by national broadcasters TF1, M6 Group and France Télévisions, has made one of its first international acquisitions, picking up Happily Married, a dark comedy series from Montreal-based Productions Casablanca.

The French-language series premiered as part of the Berlinale Series program in February. Set in 1970s Quebec, it follows two couples that, after dropping their kids off at camp, are forced to confront the dire state of their married lives. But with divorce almost unheard of in the staunchly Catholic province, the couples instead explore other ways to reignite their passion. A series of drastic decisions later, and they are the most wanted criminal quartet in Quebec history.

Writer François Létourneau and director Jean-François Rivard, partners on critically acclaimed series Les Invincibles and Série Noire, created the 10-episode Happily Married for Radio-Canada Télé and Tou.Tv Extra.

Cineflix Media is handling international sales. Julien Leroux of Cineflix and Salto head of content Thomas Crosson negotiated the deal. Crosson said Happily Married, with its "perfect mix of freedom of tone and dark humor," represents exactly the kind of programming that "Salto wants to embody."

A joint venture between the commercial networks M6 and TF1 and public broadcaster France Télévisions, Salto launched this year, billing itself as a French alternative to Netflix and other international streaming platforms.

Netflix, in particular, has been extremely successful in France and earlier this year unveiled a swanky new office in Paris. The global streamer has some 20 new French shows and movies in the pipeline and on May 8 bowed The Eddy, a high-profile musical drama set in Paris from Jack Thorne and Damien Chazelle. Netflix has also expanded its library of French films, signing a nonexclusive deal with distributor MK2 Films for French streaming rights to a catalog of classic movies, including  François Truffaut's Jules and Jim and The 400 Blows, among others.

It remains to be seen if Salto can establish itself as a complementary, or even competitive, service in France. The group has a relatively meager budget of $56 million for its first year and has entered an already crowded online streaming market.