France Televisions Youth-Skewed Service Slash Powers Premium Scripted Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

France’s broadcasting group, France Televisions, launched Slash, a niche platform skewing millennials, as part of its efforts to keep its brand relevant among younger viewers. In five years, the service has become one of France’s biggest showcases of daring scripted content created by and starring diverse talents.

Slash, which is accessible on the pubcaster’s streaming service and is headed by former screenwriter Sened Dhab, has been consistently delivering hit shows. Recent examples include Noé Debré’s Brexit-themed political satire “The Parliament,” Simon Bouisson’s “Stalk,” a thriller about cyber bullying, and “Skam,” the local adaptation of the Norwegian series about troubles teenagers.

Although the platform’s content is primarily aimed at adolescents and young adults, a number of shows have become popular among older demographics. Dhab told Variety that shows commissioned by Slash stand out because they tend to be “edgier, engaging and have a different tone” than series airing on the linear channels of France Televisions. 

“We don’t have the same budgets than series that are made for France Televisions ‘s linear programming,  so we’re putting the emphasis on having strong concepts that have a clear marketing hook, and we’re interested in projects that have a local grounding in terms of their social and cultural theme,” said Dhab, adding the platform’s mandate was also to showcase diverse, emerging talents in front and behind the camera. 

Having a local flavor hasn’t kept Slash series from traveling abroad and even attracting remake options. An English-language remake of “Stalk” is currently being developed by Endeavor Content, in association with Drake’s DreamCrew and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Prods. The ready-made show has been acquired in over 70 territories. Another Slash title, “Derby Girl,” about a fallen figure skating star who sets off to become roller derby world champion, is being remade in the U.K.

The banner has recently commissioned “Split,” a contemporary comedy series directed by well-respected French feminist author Iris Brey with an exciting cast headlined by Jehnny Beth, Alma Jodorowsky, Ralph Amoussou and Pauline Chalamet.

Written by Brey and Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat, “Split” revolves around Anna, a 30 year-old stuntwoman who falls in love with a famous actress during a film shoot.

The five-part series, which is produced by Fabienne Servan Schreiber and Charlotte Ortiz at Cinétévé, will begin shooting on Sept. 26.

Slash has also ordered “Grand Palais” and “Disco Queens,” a pair of high-concept series underscoring the platform’s ambition to experiment with different genres.

“Disco Queens” is a period social comedy created and co-written by Mohamed Benyekhlef. Set in Paris in the 1980’s, the series revolves two young immigrants who are forced into marriage against all odds and decide to live their lives freely within the Parisian night life.

“Grand Palais” is a rap music-filled romantic comedy set at a hookah lounge in France which is on the brink of being shut down under the district’s gentrification plans. The show stars well-known rap musician Elams. Created by Florent Sauze (“Chronique de la jungle”), the series is being produced by Easy Tigers, the banner behind Houda Benyamina’s Golden Camera winning “Divines.” Sauze is co-directing “Grand Palais” with Anissa Allali.

Slash recently delivered “Sisters” (pictured) an urban musical comedy following a teenage girl who joins forces with her two girlfriends to track down the person responsible for her brother’s assault. The series’s female leads, Ines Ouchaaou, Assa Sylla and Charlie Loiselier, won a collective prize at this year’s Series Mania. Lizland Films produced the series which was created by Jerome Larcher and Catherine Regula.

Dhab said Slash currently has 15 to 20 shows in development. “Typically, we have about 50% to 60% of what we develop that goes into production,” said the executive.

Since France’s anti-trust regulations ban TV channels from producing in-house, Slash works with third-party producers on every show but Dhab said he’s always involved in the content, from the development to the post-production phase.

As Slash is looking to explore new grounds, Dhab said he was increasingly open to work with co-producers in order to access slightly bigger budgets. The platform currently has two series that are being developed as potential international co-productions, notably “Shelter Market.”  The series is a dystopian thriller based on a Chantal Montellier’s comicbook and set inside a mall where customers are mysteriously locked in. Niels Rahou (“Skam”) is writing the adaptation with Joel Nsita (“Ici tout commence”) and Charlotte Vecchiet (“Derby Girl”).

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