Canal Plus‘ nightly news program Le Grand Journal, which broadcasts live across from the Martinez Hotel here in Cannes, was interrupted tonight when gunshots were heard in the crowd. Jury members Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil were being interviewed on the set when the incident occurred. The audience and talent on stage quickly evacuated. Grand Journal host Michel Denisot came back on air shortly after to say that Cannes police had taken the perpetrator into custody and that he had shot two blanks into the air as well as having a fake grenade in his possession. According to Le Figaro, the departmental head of public security for the Alpes-Maritimes region said the man was carrying an alarm pistol. There were no injuries. Here’s a video of the interruption:
Global Showbiz Briefs: New BBC Chief Takes Reins, HBO & Canal Plus, China’s TV Docu Market, Bona Film Group
New BBC Chief Says “Best Days Lie Ahead”
Today was the first day on the job for the BBC’s new director general, Tony Hall. The broadcaster’s former head of news returned to the Beeb after more than a decade as CEO of the Royal Opera House. The organization he confronted today is in far different shape than it was when he left. After going into crisis mode last October when the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal broke open, the BBC was rocked by the mishandling of a Newsnight report that mistakenly identified a senior politician as an alleged pedophile. Those events led to the resignation of former director general George Entwistle after only 54 days on the job. Mark Thompson, Entwistle’s predecessor, left in September to become CEO of The New York Times Company and under his watch austerity measures were put in place after the license fee that was frozen until 2017. Two major unions went out on strike at the BBC last Thursday in protest over what was referred to as “a modern-day BBC sweatshop” along with bullying claims at the company. Hall made a handful of appointments prior to starting at the BBC, but has yet to name a head of news or head of television. In an email to staff today, he said, “With imagination and hard work, the BBC’s best days lie ahead of us.”
In what will be the first fully-subtitled drama to air on the UK’s Channel 4 in 20 years, the net has acquired premiere broadcast rights to French supernatural series Les Revenants. Zodiak is handling international sales on the thriller that was produced by Haut et Court for Canal Plus and originally aired to record numbers last fall. The show, re-titled Rebound in the UK, centers on a group of people in a small Alpine village who find themselves in a state of confusion, trying to return to their homes. What they don’t yet know is that they’ve been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Fabrice Gobert created the show based on the 2004 feature Les Revenants by Robin Campillo. Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Celine Sallette, Frederic Pierrot, Samir Guesmi and Guillaume Gouix star.
The UK is no stranger to subtitled fare – BBC Four airs such imported shows as Sweden’s Wallander, Denmark’s Borgen and Italy’s Inspector Montalbano. But the Rebound deal marks the second time in recent months that there’s been cross-Channel collaboration on a series. Sky Atlantic and Canal Plus started shooting last month on The Tunnel, the 10-part bilingual English-French adaptation of Scandinavian cop series The Bridge.
Originally produced by France’s Haut et Court for Canal Plus, Les Revenants aired in eight one-hour episodes last fall, drawing record numbers for the pay-TV channel. Paul …
Rodolphe Belmer Ascends At Canal Plus
Rodolphe Belmer has been appointed to the board the Canal Plus Group and named director general of the company. The executive, No. 2 at France’s dominant pay-TV company, was formerly deputy director general. Among his functions will be oversight of the free and pay-TV activities of Canal Plus in France as well as other activities. He will not, however, oversee international expansion or film-related activities which will remain under president Bertrand Meheut. According to Le Monde, Meheut, whose mandate at Canal Plus chief ends at the end of 2014, has been preparing his succession for several months. Belmer has been second in command at Canal since 2003 and recently oversaw the acquisition of free-to-air channels Direct 8 and Direct Star from the Bolloré group.
Yahoo To Bow Out Of South Korea
Yahoo Inc’s South Korean operation said today it will exit the country, underscoring its struggle against Google, Facebook and local competitors expanding aggressively into mobile advertising and online services. South Korea is the first Asian country Yahoo is leaving. Yahoo Korea, which started business in 1997 and is wholly owned by the U.S. search company, has around 200-250 employees in South Korea. It will terminate Korean online portal services in December. In the South Korean market, it has failed to beat local rivals such as NHN Corp, Daum Communications Corp and SK Communications Co.
French media conglomerate Vivendi is stepping up a strategic review of its businesses as it decides whether to sell or spin off some of its assets. Chairman Jean-René Fourtou has appointed executives to help reassess the company’s structure …
François Hollande bested incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday to become France’s first Socialist president since François Mitterrand. Hollande will be inaugurated by mid-next week, just in time for the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, where there’s certain to be discussion about what his ascension will mean for the business. Issues like anti-piracy legislation, runaway production and who’ll be the next culture minister are likely topics, but for now, execs I’ve spoken with don’t seem too concerned. Pyramide Distribution’s Eric Lagesse tells me, “No one is expecting a big impact.”
Patrick Lamassoure of FilmFrance, the body that promotes France as a filming location, echoes that to a degree, saying, “France has always had a strong film policy whether it’s the left or the right in power.” That’s true. France has one of the most generous subsidy systems in the world with a national cinema center that boasts a 750M euro budget with roughly 230M euros earmarked as selective state aid in 2011. By law (one decided when Mitterrand was president), broadcasters are also required to invest in local and European film production with Canal Plus, for example, ponying up 182.5M euros last year. In TV programming, 4,830 hours received state funding in 2011.
France’s leading pay-TV group Canal Plus is digging deeper into Poland via a partnership with local media groups ITI and TVN to create a new pay-TV platform. Outside France, Canal has long been active in Poland and also reaches subscribers in French-speaking Africa and Vietnam for a total of 12.7 million subs worldwide. The new deal gives Canal the option of taking a larger stake in the new entity down the line.
Paris, Luxembourg, Warsaw (December 19, 2011) – CANAL+ Group, ITI Group and TVN Group today announced the entry into a strategic partnership to combine their Polish pay-TV businesses and for Canal+ Group to become a key shareholder in TVN.
This combination of Cyfra+ and TVN’s ‘n’ creates a leading direct-to-home (DTH) platform with an expected combined base of 2.5 million post-paid customers by the end of 2011. Canal+ Group will own 51% of the share capital of the newly-created pay-TV Company, with TVN Group and UPC owning 32% and 17% respectively.
While sports broadcast rights have been making headlines recently in the U.S., another battle has been waged on the soccer fields of France. France’s leading pay-TV operator Canal Plus, traditionally the destination for soccer in France, has been under siege of late from newcomer Al Jazeera Sport, but today the group finally scored a goal with the UEFA Champions League. Canal announced this evening in Paris that it’s won the rights to the top pick of games for the 2012-2015 soccer season, including the finale, for a total of 13 games. The news is of special interest given the full-frontal charge the group has been facing from Al Jazeera, but also because the rights for these particular big-ticket games generally go to the nation’s leading free web TF1. A Canal Plus spokesman tells Deadline that TF1 was in the bidding for this round, but he was unaware if Al Jazeera had also put in an offer.
Gena Rowlands Barred From Australian Movie
Gena Rowlands has been bumped from the Australian film Last Dance because of restrictions on casting of foreign talent, the Australian reports. The 81-year-old actress was to have played a Holocaust survivor of German and Jewish …
Canal Plus Eyes Vincent Bollore’s Channels In Free TV Push
Vivendi’s Canal Plus said today it is working to take a majority stake in channels owned by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, as part of a push into free TV. Its proposed deal would give Canal Plus 60% of Direct 8 and music-focused Direct Star in exchange for Vivendi shares. Canal Plus has an option to buy the remainder within the next three years, its head Bertrand Meheut told French daily Les Echos. The deal, subject to approval by the government and employee reps, values the Bollore assets at about $650M. Canal Plus wants to defend itself against new players in France such as Netflix, Google and Apple.
WB’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Adds Indian Icon Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is making his Hollywood debut in Warner Bros’ new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. He’ll play Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish man described as a gambler in F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. The $126M film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann, has begun shooting in Australia. Bachchan, 68, has acted in more than 180 Indian films over a 40-year period. He remains Indian’s most popular actor and recently returned as the celebrity host of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.