Independent Hollywood TV and film producer and distributor Lionsgate has shopped a trio of its scripted series to Orange France. The France Telecom-backed pay TV service has acquired drama series Crash and The Guard and horror anthology Fear Itself. It has also picked up the US version of time-travelling cop series Life on Mars. The series started out on the BBC in the UK before a US version aired on US network ABC and Orange has picked it up from Fox’s program sales division.
Orange is reluctant to give details of when it will air the series because of concerns about pay TV rival Canal Plus counter scheduling, but Hervé Payan, senior vice president of content services and partnerships at Orange/France Télécom, told TBIvision that Crash will likely debut in June and the other two Lionsgate series in the fall.
Orange had 1.9 million triple play and 300,000 premium pay TV subscribers at end-2008 and will report new numbers next month.
Orange has spent huge sums on sports and movie content. Its output deals with French and Hollywood studios will cost it €337 million between 2008 and 2014 and it also picked up French mobile and TV soccer rights at a cost of €203 million a year, for four years until 2012.
Payan said that Orange will not cut any more output deals with French producers. In terms of US content, Orange has output deals with Warners, MGM and HBO. The other studios are tied into long term deals with Canal Plus.