MIPTV 2012: TF1 Planning French Version of 'Jersey Shore'


Gallic network picks up US version as original cast prepares to descend on Cannes.

The French will be fist pumping when Jersey Shore makes its premiere in Gaul on leading TV network TF1’s DTT channel NT1. The broadcaster has snagged distribution and format rights for MTV’s global hit series and is working on a local version of the show.

Jersey Shore has expanded its reach outside of Seaside Heights and even past the U.S. border to small screens in more than 150 territories on MTV and on more than 60 international channels. The show tops ratings in Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the UK, in addition to its U.S. success.  The U.K.’s local version of the show, Geordie Shore, has given MTV its best ratings in the territory to date and is already in its third season.

MTV has put a great deal of thought into its international strategy for the series. “It’s not a coincidence that the show is so successful. The show resonates with international audiences because of the highly skilled production executives behind it. The execution, the look and the feel of the show is superlative,” VIMN’s SVP of International Program Sales Caroline Beaton told The Hollywood Reporter.

Plus, added MTV’s EVP of Programming and Head of Production Chris Linn:  “It’s escapism. It’s celebratory. People can live vicariously through these characters. It’s a paid vacation to hang out at the beach all summer, who wouldn’t want to do that?”

NT1 will air the U.S. version of the series before launching a Gallic adaptation.

VIMN remained mum on possible locations for the French series, but confirmed that they are exploring the possibility of several different regions in the country. “We’re not rushing into anything. We’re not trying to be in a volume business and produce dumbed down, diluted versions of the original,” Beaton said.

Can the country famed for its glamorous fashion sense, haute cuisine and Jean Dujardin find a francophone version of Snooki and friends? “Subcultures exist everywhere, even in France and the French can certainly party with the rest of them,” Beaton said.

Linn added: “Every region has a sub-culture of people that audiences can dive into. It’s an interesting anthropological study of different cultures.”

VIMN has also confirmed deals for Jersey Shore on French-language specialty channel Musique Plus in Canada, on terrestrial channel Telenica in Nicaragua and on Finland’s rapidly growing network TV5. However, VIMN isn’t planning to pimp the series across the globe anytime soon. “We’re looking for mature TV markets. We’re very protective of the brand. It’s the opposite of a commercial hard sell,” Beaton said.

What makes Jersey Shore so successful, according to Linn, isn’t the Garden State beachside location, but the characters themselves.

“They’re amplified versions of true stereotypes. There’s very little self-awareness of how they’re different from the average person.”

The Jersey Shore cast will head back to Seaside for the show’s sixth season to begin shooting in May, once the famous boardwalk opens in Seaside and continues through the summer.

So what’s in store for the rambunctious crew back on their native turf? “We don’t know what’s going to happen. There is no plot until they live it,” Linn said, adding: “They really are just spending the summer at the shore and we have cameras on them 24/7. It’s reality TV in its truest form.”

Snooki will be mid-way through her pregnancy this summer, which will certainly change the group dynamic, though she won’t give birth until after shooting wraps.  “They’ll determine what happens this season. They continue to mature as people,” Linn said.

MTV will also air a spinoff show with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley after spinoff The Pauly D Project premiered on March 29th.

“The spinoffs are about their lives outside of the shore and will give viewers a chance to see what life is like for them on a daily basis,” Linn explained.