French broadcasting, production and distribution company Groupe AB, teaming with Televisa USA’s Chris Philip, today announced it has signed Cesar Millan to host its first English-language series for the global TV market, “The Messenger.” From AB Productions and renowned wildlife prodco Boréales (producers of the original French version), the new series will be executive produced by Millan, Chris Philip, Frederic Fougea, Richard Maroko and Bob Aniello.
Groupe AB will launch worldwide pre-sales for the series at next month’s Mipcom. It will offer six one-hour episodes of the unique wildlife/adventure douctainment format , which combines one major star and one extraordinary animal with a moving and captivating message to save the planet’s most endangered species.
To maintain the high quality of the original French version, the new series will be co-produced by Frederic Fougea’s Boréales, considered to be one of the most prestigious wildlife producers and directors.
“The Messenger” will feature Millan, a best-selling author, educator and the internationally acclaimed star of “Cesar 911” and the Emmy-nominated host of the “Dog Whisperer,” shifting his focus from the behavior of dogs to helping people who are making a difference. In each dramatic outing, he will venture to spectacular natural habitats, putting the spotlight on conservationists risking their lives every day to rescue and rehabilitate the most critically endangered animals on the planet from their most dangerous enemy: humans.
“With our deep library of programming, we have been eying a major expansion into the U.S. and global English-language market for quite some time but waited for just the right project and star to come along,” said Richard Maroko, senior EVP Programmes for Groupe AB. “With our strong production and strategic partner Televisa USA, we have landed a proven international star with Caesar who can apply the same exceptional abilities and talent he has demonstrated on his hit series to help spread the word about one of our most passionate causes – the fight to save endangered species.”
Televisa USA’s Chris Philip added, “Hundreds of countries worldwide respect Cesar’s expert voice, and now dozens of animal species in jeopardy of extinction will benefit from it and from his remarkable global reach.”
Millan brings more than 25 years of dog behavior experience to “The Messenger,” as well as his status as the most recognized and sought-after authority in the field of dog care and rehabilitation directly to communities terrorized by unruly hounds.
“The Messenger is a natural extension of the work I have been doing with dogs. I am excited to share with the world the work and sacrifice that conservationists are doing to save and rehabilitate endangered species,” said Millan. “Animals have rights too and we need to respect their natural place in our world.”
“The Messenger” premiered to strong ratings in January 2016 as a series of two-hour primetime specials on France 3, one of the main terrestrial networks in France, and on AB3 in Belgium. The debut episode focused on endangered Gibbons monkeys in Borneo, where a young man, Channee, with his foundation, Kalaweit, has dedicated his life protecting them and reintroducing those he could save back into the wild.
WME brokered the deal on behalf of Millan.