France 2 has enjoyed incredible ratings with World War II doc series Apocalypse, which attracted 8 million viewers for its final episode, allowing the broadcaster to beat CSI: Miami on TF1 for the first time ever.
The show delivered a 31% audience share for France 2 compared with the channel average of 15.4%. The broadcaster has been focusing on cultural public service programming since the enforcement of the primetime advertising ban on French public channels earlier this year.
Apocalypse is produced by CC&C Productions and aired over three evenings on France 2 in two-hour installments, averaging 6.5 million viewers. It relays the events of World War II using unseen archive footage and is distributed by France Televisions Distribution.
The show has already been picked up by several international broadcasters including NHK in Japan and TSR in Switzerland, which have already started broadcasting it. It will be on Nat Geo, ARD (Germany), NRK (Norway), DR (Denmark), Channel 5 (Russia) and the US (Smithsonian Network).
International sales to date have recouped US$2.2 million. FTD also handles video rights and Apocalypse will be the first historical documentary to be Blu-Ray edited in France. A follow up to the series has now been announced by FTV General Director Patrice Duhamel and a longer series featuring contemporary wars, from Korea to Afghanistan is planned.