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Zodiak’s Alessandri resurfaces with French indie

Former Télé Images Productions president Philippe Alessandri has returned to the fold by launching an animation and drama-focused indie producer in Paris.

Philippe AlessandriWatchNext Media will look to create shows with “engaging brands and aspirational stories” for the international market. It will also focus on properties that can work as television series, apps and licensing products.

Alessandri (pictured) has hired former Tele Images development executive Sylvain Huchet to work on WatchNext’s development slate. The firm will launch a trio of animation projects at MIPTV next month.

“In today’s market, I think small is beautiful,” he told TBI today of the company’s philosophy. “I imagine Watch Next as a creative boutique, focusing on turning a few series into global hits.”

Alessandri left Zodiak Media’s French arm in November, as TBI revealed at the time. Benoît Runel replaced him at Télé Images, where he worked for 16 years and created animated shows such as Extreme Football and The Ranch and drama series Lifelines.

He had also been running other Zodiak drama labels Marathon Images and GTV until Gaspard de Chavagnac joined Zodiak France in March 2014 and was appointed president of both.

Various Zodiak France execs have gone on to set up production companies after leaving in recent years. Former Marathon Media general manager David Michel has created Cottonwood Media, while Pascal Breton launched Federation Entertainment, which is making original drama Marseilles for Netflix.