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Paris, March 2, 2009

Lagardère Entertainment and CANAL + announce the production of a new series, The Borgias

The CANAL+ channel and Lagardère Entertainment, France's leading producers of fictional programming, announce the launch of a new miniseries devoted to the Borgias, with 12 hour-long episodes spanning numerous countries. Through its subsidiary Atlantique Productions, Lagardère Entertainment has teamed with CANAL+ to sign an agreement with Tom Fontana, one of the most talented screenwriters in the US, to devise a script.

Chris Albrecht and Anne Thomopoulos, respectively former chairman and programming director and former longform director at America's HBO network (The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Rome, etc.) will oversee development of the series as associate producers, alongside the independent UK production firm Helion Pictures under managing director Steve Bawol.

Atlantique Productions, a subsidiary of Lagardère Entertainment that specializes in producing international television projects, will serve as deputy and executive producer for the series in association with the German production company EOS Entertainment, headed by Jan Mojto.

This agreement reflects an interest by CANAL+ and Lagardère Entertainment to make a significant investment in international miniseries production. For CANAL+, following the success of XIII, the project marks a new phase in the channel's policy of expanding its original content worldwide.

The series will tell the history of the celebrated Borgia clan from Spain, from its ascension to power to its dominance over the Vatican during the Renaissance.

Production of the first season, to be shot in English, will begin in Autumn 2009. The series, which meets the requirements for works made in the European Union as set forth by France's broadcast regulator, the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), will be distributed internationally by Beta Film GmbH. An additional joint-production agreement with Italy and Spain is expected to be announced shortly.

Tom Fontana is one of the American writers and producers in greatest demand these days. He won fame for the series Oz, which he wrote and produced for America's HBO network, as well as Homicide, which appeared on the NBC (Universal) television network.

For The Borgias, he'll be responsible for writing the pilot and first two episodes and will oversee the scripts for the series, which will be written by Europeans.

 

Arnaud Molinié, President of Lagardère Entertainment, had this to say: "This agreement is a powerful illustration of the Group's desire to develop projects of international scope. At a time when the audiovisual market is seeing revolutionary change, it is essential that we retain the capacity to bring together the top professionals from France and around the world in order to provide viewers with ever more exciting and ambitious programming."

Takis Candilis, Chief Operating Officer for Lagardère Entertainment, remarked: "We are lucky to have an extensive and talented pool of writers, directors, actors and technicians in France and Europe. By giving them the chance to work with top professionals like Tom Fontana and Anne Thomopoulos, whose creativity and experience are recognized around the world, we are now in a position to set a true European standard for fictional programming, at a time when American series are less common."

Rodolphe Belmer, Managing Director of CANAL+, had these comments: "Our goal is to develop projects on a major cinematic scale, using world-class resources, that can rival American series and be exported abroad. We are convinced not only that we can develop strong and brand-defining fictional programming for CANAL+, but also contribute to the international expansion and impact of French and European production."

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About Lagardère Entertainment
Founded in 2008 and headed by Arnaud Molinié, Lagardère Entertainment is a subsidiary of Lagardère Active. It is responsible for all operations relating to audiovisual production, live entertainment and rights management on behalf of the Lagardère Group. As France's second largest audiovisual production group (fictional, live and animated programming), with production units that include Angel, Atlantique, Aubes-Telmondis, DEMD, GMT, Image & Compagnie, Léo Vision, Maximal, Merlin, and Timoon, M5/EuropeImages for distribution and Editions Musicales François 1er, Lagardère Entertainment has become a major player in the production and management of artistic content.