Spoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…
With England’s national team officially knocked out of the World Cup as Costa Rica bested Italy on Friday, fans in the UK had little taste for following the next match of the day. France’s 5-2 victory over Switzerland at 8 PM on ITV was the lowest rated primetime match of the tournament so far. It drew 4.41M viewers for a 23.6% share. Across the Manche, however, France’s leading broadcaster TF1 saw its highest ratings since 2007 as roughly 16.7M viewers rallied round Les Bleus. That was good for a 62% share and was the biggest World Cup score since the 2006 finale against Italy — and the head butt heard round the world — which drew 22M viewers. Yesterday’s performance and the nation’s embrace of the team makes a big change from four years ago when the players wouldn’t even get off their bus in South Africa. We’ll report ESPN numbers later. Matches set for today are Argentina v Iran, Germany v Ghana, and Nigera v Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Ennio Morricone’s Injury Force Cancellation Of U.S. Concert Dates
Complications from a back injury have forced Ennio Morricone to cancel his planned concerts in the U.S. next month. The composer, who has five Academy Award nominations and a 2007 Honorary Oscar to his credit, was to conduct a 200-piece ensemble of musicians and singers performing selections from his film scores. Morricone, 85, had planned give his first-ever Los Angeles performance on June 15 at the Nokia Theatre and only his second career NYC show on June 13 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He suffered the back injury in March, leading to the cancellation of shows scheduled into June, but had hoped to make the U.S. dates. His attorney said the injury prevents him from conducting or flying. Said the Italian composer, “I apologize to my fans for having to cancel these shows, and hope that I am able to make it back soon.”
France TF1 Orders ‘My Restaurant Rocks’
Following the early-April airing of its pilot, My Restaurant Rocks has been given a series order by France’s largest broadcaster. TF1 picked up Red Arrow International’s local adaptation of the German reality competition format, in which four professional restaurants go head-to-head in a battle to be the best in their local region. Every restaurant takes its turn hosting its competitors, serving them a three-course dinner. The show’s French title is L’Addition, s’il vous plait.
As the Mip-TV market gets underway in Cannes, Keshet International has announced its first offshore rights deal for ticking time bomb show, Boom!. France’s TF1 has acquired the format that just debuted in Israel to powerhouse ratings and is expected to be a big seller here this week. The game show sets a squad of four players the challenge of defusing eight replica bombs by answering trivia questions correctly within a strict time limit. The multiple choice responses are represented by different color wires. If the player gets an answer right, the prize money remains intact and the squad advances. If they cut the wrong wire, or run out of time, the bomb explodes spewing material across the studio and shaking the set. The team loses one player per exploded bomb, and 25% of the potential prize money. Keshet DCP is developing the show for the U.S. Read More »
In December 2012, Discovery Communications entered a strategic alliance with France’s TF1 and as part of the deal, it took a 20% stake in the group’s pan-European sports platform, Eurosport. At the time, Discovery said it had the option to raise its interest to 51% in two years. Today’s announcement accelerates that move by one year with Discovery upping its stake in Eurosport to a majority interest. TF1 will now retain a put option that could require Discovery to buy the remaining 49%. The flagship Eurosport network reaches 133M homes in 54 countries and 20 languages. It focuses on regionally popular niche sports including tennis, cycling, skiing, skating, and curling. The group also includes Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Eurosport Asia-Pacific and 24-hour channel and online hub, Eurosportnews. Following are the full details of today’s deal: Read More »
Taxi: Brooklyn South, a 12-episode TF1 drama series set and filming in the U.S., has assembled a cast of familiar American TV names. Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh and Jacky Ido (Inglorious Basterds) are set as the leads in the project, based on Luc Besson’s Taxi feature franchise. Former Blue Bloods co-star Jennifer Esposito, Ally Walker (Profiler), James Colby (Body Of Proof), Bill Heck (Person Of Interest), Jose Zuniga and Raul Casso round out the cast of the series, written by Gary Scott Thompson (The Fast And The Furious) who serves as showrunner. Shooting started in New York last week without U.S. distribution locked in yet, something the producers from EuropaCorp and TF1 plan to pursue when they have a finished product in hand. Taxi: Brooklyn South centers on Caitlyn Sullivan (Leigh), a brilliant investigator at the Brooklyn Police Station whose stubborn character and her recklessness behind the wheel have made her an outcast within the NYPD. She teams with Marseille-born Leo Romba, a happy New York Taxi driver full of energy and care for his clients, to form the most improbable and efficient partnership to solve crimes and mysteries around Brooklyn. The first two episodes of the series are being directed by Olivier Megaton (Taken 2). Leigh is with UTA and Burstein Co.
Prosecutors: Charges Not Imminent In Death Of French ‘Survivor’ Contestant
French prosecutors in the Parisian suburb of Creteil have denied reports that they plan to open a criminal investigation into the March death of reality show contestant Gérald Babin. Babin suffered a heart attack during the first day of shooting on Koh-Lanta, France’s local version of Survivor, and a preliminary manslaughter inquiry was later opened. At the time, anonymous sources called into question the show’s handling of Babin’s collapse. But reports that surfaced in the French media this morning, which said the opening of an official judicial investigation was imminent, are incorrect. “You cannot set a timetable. No decision has been made,” prosecutors told AFP. Babin’s death preceded the April suicide of the show’s physician Dr. Thierry Costa, who left a note saying he was confident he had treated Babin “as a patient and not a contestant” but that he was distraught by “false accusations and assumptions” in the media. Koh-Lanta started airing in 2001 and is one of leading network TF1′s flagship series, drawing an average of 7.4M viewers. The network promptly shelved the 16th season and has yet to make a decision about the series’ long-term future.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Sets Streaming Record In UK
The third season of Game Of Thrones just became available on UK streaming service Blinkbox, resulting in a sales record with a 632% increase in revenue versus the same day last year. Owned by retail giant Tesco, Blinkbox is the only service currently carrying the season. The show airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK and holds the top three spots in Blinkbox’s rankings. Much as UKTV did with its giant lake-bound Mr. Darcy in celebration of the launch of its Drama channel, Blinkbox installed a giant dragon skull on a Dorset beach to promote the S3 release of Game Of Thrones.
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In what’s become an increasingly grim couple of weeks for reality television, a doctor working on TF1‘s Koh-Lanta, France’s version of Survivor, has committed suicide. Dr. Thierry Costa’s death comes a little over a week after contestant Gérald Babin died from a heart attack during filming of the first episode of the show’s 16th season in Cambodia. Production had already been shut down on Koh-Lanta and resulted in the cancellation of the entire 16th season. In a suicide note he asked be made public, Costa said he was confident he had treated Babin “as a patient and not a contestant” but said he was distraught by “false accusations and assumptions” in the media, according to local reports. Last Friday, Koh-Lanta producer Adventure Line Productions, a subsidiary of Zodiak media, said it would sue for defamation after information from an anonymous source, which called into question the on-site response of the production team and the doctor, was published by French media. A manslaughter inquiry has been opened into Babin’s death. Koh-Lanta started airing in 2001 and is one of leading network TF1′s flagship series, drawing an average of 7.4M viewers.
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The death of a participant on TF1 reality series Koh-Lanta, the French version of Survivor, has resulted in the cancellation of the show’s 16th season. Gérald Babin suffered a heart attack and died on Friday during the first day of shooting in Cambodia following a “shipwreck” challenge. He was 25. Production ceased immediately and the other contestants were being flown back to Paris today. Over the weekend, a spokesperson for France’s leading commercial broadcaster TF1 said, “The show will not take place in 2013.” Koh-Lanta, produced by Zodiak Media subsidiary Adventure Line Productions, started airing in 2001 and has consistently won its timeslot, drawing an average of 7.4M viewers. The 16th season was expected to air next fall. TF1 and ALP said in a joint statement: “The teams from ALP, TF1 and (host) Denis Brogniart are devastated and join in the profound sadness of Gérald’s family. All of their thoughts are with his parents, his sister, his girlfriend and all those close to him.”
Discovery CEO David Zaslav wants to quell a potentially big shareholder concern: that his pay TV networks company might become embroiled in costly bidding wars for sports rights as a result of its new investment in TF1‘s Eurosport. (That’s part of two major deals the company announced this morning.) This is Discovery’s first direct foray into the sports business. But the near-insane buying frenzies are characteristic of the U.S. market, which is “completely different,” he said in a conference call this morning. Eurosport focuses on regionally popular niche sports including tennis, cycling, skiing, skating, and curling. That’s “more manageable, much more predictable,” he says. “There isn’t one sport that they have to have….It doesn’t strive to be that big massive platform, which is consistent with what we do.” Discovery also is still feeling its way: It agreed to pay $221.6M for a 20% stake in Eurosport. It has an option to raise its holding to 51% in two years. If it does, then TF1 can require Discovery to buy the remaining 49% as well. Read More »
Discovery Communications is widely expanding its footprint in Europe with the purchase of 12 TV networks and 19 radio stations in the Nordic countries. The company is also working on a strategic alliance with France’s TF1, as Deadline reported yesterday. The combined deals mark a roughly $2B investment by Discovery to increase its international reach. The deal for the SBS Nordic operations with Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 brings general entertainment, scripted and sports programming to Discovery’s suite of services for the first time. Via the TF1 deal, Discovery would take an initial 20% stake in pan-European sports network Eurosport as well as buying into some of TF1′s branded channels. Below are two press releases, the first outlining the SBS Nordic deal and the second on the TF1 alliance:
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Discovery Communications today announced a definitive agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Group to purchase the company’s SBS Nordic operations for a total enterprise value of approximately $1.7 billion (€1.325 billion). The acquisition of SBS Nordic includes 12 television networks in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, among other assets, and further solidifies Discovery’s long-term growth in the strong Nordic TV markets. The deal also expands Discovery’s brand portfolio by adding general entertainment, scripted and sports programming to the company’s suite of services for the first time. The transaction is subject to regulatory review and is expected to close in early 2013. Additionally, Discovery also announced that its Board of Directors has approved a $1.0 billion increase to its existing stock repurchase program.
“SBS Nordic has a fully distributed portfolio of dual revenue stream networks with a terrific management team that will expand Discovery’s footprint across the Nordic region, which includes some of the most well-penetrated and stable TV markets in the world,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “Individually, and taken together, the acquisition of SBS Nordic, our pending strategic partnership with TF1 through the acquisition of a minority stake in Eurosport, and the increase in our share repurchase program are all complementary to our long-term growth strategy of delivering sustained operating results, creating strong organic growth through investment in content, brands and talent, and returning capital to shareholders.”
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France’s TF1 today said its board of directors had voted to give company chief Nonce Paolini the greenlight to continue and finalize negotiations with Discovery Communications on a strategic alliance. On November 13, the companies disclosed they were in exclusive talks that could result in a significant investment by Discovery into the French media giant. Today, TF1 elaborated on the areas in which the two companies would partner and laid out some financials for the deal which is expected to close within the next few weeks.
TF1 said the two are looking to develop the future activities of Eurosport, the French conglom’s pan-European sports channel, which would see Discovery take a 20% minority interest in the Eurosport group for about $222M. Discovery would also have the option of increasing its stake to 51% after two years, at which point TF1 could exercise a put option lifting Discovery’s ownership to 100%. Read More »