Canal+ unveils new €1.2 billion TV season

French pay TV channel Canal+ has put the accent on exclusive original programming and developing new talent in its 2008-2009 season.

As in previous years Canal+ said it will be exploring new concepts in drama and entertainment with its new line-up of shows.

Belgian born presenter and actress Virginie Efira has joined Canal+ from free-to-air channel M6 and was on hand at the new season launch.

New seasons of existing original productions include La Générale d’Images-produced Hard, a romantic comedy set in the porn industry and a second series of one-hour family comedy series Nos Enfants Chéris (Our Dear Children) from Chic Films and Prado Films.

Other original productions include the TV movie Resolution 819, which stars Benoît Magimel and is produced by Georges Campana’s Breakout Films. It traces the story of the investigation after the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia.

In the factual genre there is an emphasis on new series including Les Poissons Volant-produced Me and the World, which will follow six generations of French people.

In terms of international programming there will be US series Pushing Daisies (Warner Bros. International TV Distribution), Dirty Sexy Money (Disney ABC ESPN Television) and new seasons of Desperate Housewives (Disney ABC ESPN Television) and Dexter (CBS Paramount International Television).

From elsewhere in Europe there will be the Teamworx and Zen Productions’ TV movie Mogadiscio.

Canal+ also has a slew of movies and sports rights. Annual programming costs are stable at €1.2 billion, Bertrand Méheut, Canal+ Group president told a Paris press conference. "The pay-TV model remains a model of the future," Méheut said. "Our first asset is our brand."