Netflix Takes Global Rights To A&E Drama ‘The Returned’ In Deal With Fremantle

EXCLUSIVE: Just ahead of its March 9 debut on A&E, supernatural drama The Returned has been set for global release courtesy of Netflix. The streaming service and FremantleMedia International have sealed an exclusive, landmark deal for Carlton Cuse’s 10-episode suspense series to launch as a Netflix original beginning March 10 in all regions outside the U.S. and Canada. Episodes will be available weekly for Netflix members to stream within 24 hours of the U.S. broadcast and Netflix will add the series to its North American portfolio next year.

The Returned is based on French series, Les Revenants, which was created by Fabrice Gobert, who in turn was inspired by the 2004 feature by Robin Campillo. Anticipation for the new version will be high — the original became a hit in several overseas markets after initially airing on Canal Plus in 2012 and winning an International Emmy as top drama in 2013.

The story follows the residents of a small mountain town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have long been presumed dead, suddenly reappear. They bring with them both positive and detrimental consequences and as families are reunited, the lives of those who were left behind are challenged on a physical and emotional level. Interpersonal relationships are examined with intrigue and depth as strange phenomena begin to occur.

The new series stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mark Pellegrino, Jeremy Sisto, India Ennenga, Sandrine Holt, Agnes Bruckner, Sophie Lowe, Tandi Wright, Mat Vairo, Kevin Alejandro, Dylan Kingwell, Aaron Douglas, Dakota Guppy, Leah Gibson, Michelle Forbes, Rhys Ward, Scott Hylands, Terry Chen and Roger Cross.

Fremantle International CEO Jens Richter tells me the show hews closely to the original French version early on, before taking a different route. “In order to give this a multi-season long life, we need to have the characters put on a different journey. Carlton has done an amazing job… He is the master of character-driven long-running shows and immediately got it.”

Lost alum Cuse is exec producing for Carlton Cuse Productions with Raelle Tucker (True Blood) for Angry Annie Productions and Thom Beers, Craig Cegielski and Stefanie Berk for FremantleMedia North America.

“Carlton and Raelle are incredible storytellers whose previous shows, Lost and True Blood, intrigued audiences around the world. We can’t wait for our global audience to see Carlton and Raelle’s interpretation of The Returned, a sensation in its own right that we think is perfect for Netflix,” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of Global Independent Content at Netflix.

Craig Cegielski, EVP, Scripted Programming, FremantleMedia North America called the deal a validation of the company’s ambition to produce “bold and dynamic programming that not only resonates in the U.S., but also ignites a shared experience amongst audiences worldwide.”

The Returned is produced by FremantleMedia North America in association with Haut et Court TV, which produced the original French version for Canal Plus.

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