MIPCOM: EuropaCorp Confirms 'Taken' Series at NBC, Pilot Orders from ABC, Fox

'Taken' (2009)

In 2009 Liam Neeson first starred as Bryan Mills, a gravelly-voiced former CIA operative who was extremely good at threatening people over the phone. The movie was an unqualified success, and opened up a new chapter in the storied actor's career.

Separately, Luc Besson will also develop and write his first-ever original television series.

EuropaCorp Television Studios USA has scored its first three series orders  with NBC, ABC and Fox.

The American arm of Luc Besson's production shingle will produce a small-screen adaptation of its hit action film franchise Taken for NBC, the pre-apocalyptic drama These Final Hours for Fox and corporate thriller Janus for ABC.

Separately, EuropaCorp announced that Besson write and executive produce an original series, marking the first time the acclaimed French filmmaker has created, as opposed to simply produced, a TV show. Matthew Gross,  CEO of EuropaCorp TV Studios USA, told THR that Besson was developing and would co-write the series together with a "well-known sci-fi writer" and that further details, including broadcast partners, would be announced in the coming weeks. "This is a go, it is not a question of if, it is a question of when," said Gross about Besson's first creative foray into TV.

EuropaCorp is also developing the lighthearted procedural series Hunch from Body of Proof showrunner Chris Murphy. It is described as being in the vein of Bones and Castle and follows a cop and a celebrity psychic who solve crimes.

EuropaCorp's Taken series, which has gotten a straight-to-series order from NBC, will act as a prequel to the films, which star Liam Neeson as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills. The show will follow the young Mills as he learns the skills of the spy trade. EuropaCorp Television and Universal Television will co-produce for NBC, with Universal handling international distribution and EuropaCorp taking French rights.

These Final Hours is based on the 2013 film of the same name by writer/director Zak Hilditch, which had its premiere in Cannes' Directors' Fortnight. The plot follows three siblings in San Francisco as they race to reach their estranged father's bomb shelter before the apocalypse overtakes them. Hilditch will write and executive produce the series and is on board to direct the pilot for Fox.

Janus is based on an Austrian thriller series of the same name. It follows Leo, a forensic psychologist married to a pharmaceutical researcher who works for Janus, a huge, and unscrupulous international pharmaceutical corporation. Leo is focused on helping their son, who has been diagnosed as a psychopath, but when there is a series of murder-suicides in the area, he teams up with a homicide detective to find answers. The trail appears to lead back to Janus and a series of shadowy medical trial. Kevin O’Hare will pen the pilot. Thor Freudenthal (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) will direct and co-executive produce for ABC.

“This is the first major step for EuropaCorp Television Studios USA, and is noteworthy due to our creative and business success just one year after the arrival of Matthew Gross,” said Thomas Anargyros and Edouard de Vesinne, EuropaCorps's co-CEOs and executive producers, referring to the U.S. division CEO. “Furthermore, it demonstrates the unique capability of EuropaCorp Television US in generating its own content and meeting the most rigorous and competitive demands of American networks.”

Added Gross: “I’m thrilled by the progress we’ve made. We currently have three sold projects at three different major networks and another three deals about to close currently in negotiations  two at American cable networks and another at a major streaming service, many with multiple offers. This puts us ahead of where I thought we would be 12 months ago. In 2016, we should have two series in production.”