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Dick Wolf Makes French Connection

Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and NBC Universal Television Distribution have struck a deal with French broadcaster TF1 for a French version of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

It is billed as the first international format deal for a procedural U.S. drama, currently the most popular scripted form in the states. All totaled, there are more than 600 completed episodes of various Law & Order series alone.

The French version will get a prime time debut on TF1 in 2006. It will be produced by Alma Productions for TF1, initially adapting U.S. scripts.

NBC Universal will have distribution rights to the French version everywhere except French-speaking Europe (France, Belgium and Switzerland), where Alma will distribute.

The groundbreaking deal could lead to similar deals around the world, according to Wolf, who told TV critics gathered for an annual press tour in L.A. that if the TF1 experiment “bears fruit,” it would be “a pump primer for the rest of the world.”

But Wolf declined to comment on how close NBC Universal and he are to turning this into a Law & Order world.