CSI: DUBAI anyone?

Paul Levine keeps sending me good stuff. He clued me in to a Wall Street Journal article about the French version of LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT.

"Paris Enquêtes Criminelles," as the French version will be called, highlights a major shake-up brewing in the TV industry’s $8 billion export business. Foreign broadcasters, once happy to buy dubbed versions of old U.S. comedies and dramas, are discovering that their viewers — particularly the younger ones advertisers pay a premium to reach — would rather watch original shows. As a result, demand is softening for dubbed shows in some markets and soaring for new scripts to film. That’s prompting U.S. studios to offer localized versions of their tried and true hits to foreign customers, touting them as an option that’s faster than starting entirely from scratch.

[…]translating it into French hasn’t been easy. [Dick Wolf] has insisted on elaborate control, right down to the sound of the signature "ca-ching" heard on each episode. Delays have caused the project to be nearly two years in the making, as producers on both sides of the Atlantic endured casting disputes, cultural tensions and the occasional debate over gun-toting techniques.

If you follow the link, you can even get a peek at the show’s main title sequence.

2 thoughts on “CSI: DUBAI anyone?”

  1. Hello, just discovering your site.
    The Wall Street article is pretty funny for me as I am a young french writer and director, great fan of “Law & Order”.
    There is indeed in France a big ceisure between the networks, the audience and the creators.
    Big guys in big channels think (and tell !) that there is no talent in France for tv shows… Of course ! They wasted talent and killed every litle bit of french creation the last two decades by ordering bad “old school” shows without any imagination and creativity… and now they complain !
    On the other hand, the french people, like a lot of others in the world, discovered since ten years the new american series like The X files, ER, and so on… And we now are burried under an avalanche of US shows. The CSI franchise is on the air two entire nights a week. And, of course, it’s a success.
    French networks want to react and create new shows. But they don’t really know what they want and are constaintly afraid : afraid of failure, afraid of shocking. They take shows like “The shield” for example but step back and refuse scripts which are a little controversial… They don’t trust young writers and despise their audience…
    Well, networks and producers need to find some “cojones” and old-school french writers should adapt themselves or leave there jobs to the new young writers (whom I am part of).
    So, the “Law & Order : Paris” thing, despite its obvious lack of creativity, may be a good thing : because of Wolf control on it, we could have the first “hollywwod-like” french show. I hope this could be the proof that french tv shows can be something great.
    The only problem : french networks prefer buying foreign concepts than trusting us, the french writers. Let’s hope it will change soon.
    Well, there was my opinion. I hope my english writing skills are not too terrible.
    If you hear some producers looking for new blood for a writing room, I am the man ! Cause I really want to learn the american ropes for tv writing. So… please, don’t hesitate !
    Thank you for sharing here your experience,
    Best regards,


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