UK Broadcasters On The Lookout For New Acquisitions

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With the LA screenings now behind us, the major UK broadcasters are expected to start making decisions on which new shows they are going to pick up. No formal announcements are expected for some time, as the respective heads of acquisition mull their options and bid for the UK broadcast rights to the standout shows they feel will perform best for their channels. Even so, true TV fanatics are already asking if JJ Abram’s Revolution or The CW’s Arrow will make it to British shores. For those true TV fanatics, TVWise presents a run down of intel, from multiple sources, on which UK broadcasters are eyeing which new shows (and not just shows that were showcased in LA last week).

BBC: With the BBC’s cost-cutting initiatives, and a stated desire to focus more on original productions than acquisitions, the public broadcaster is not considered to be a likely home for any new series. The BBC took a risk on Pan Am last year, and it didn’t work out too well for the broadcaster, couple that with BBC Three looking to keep its grip on FX’s Wilfred and not a lot of resources are being focused on acquisitions. In fact, sources tell me that the only new series that could possibly wind up appearing on the BBC is Elementary, the New York based modern Sherlock Holmes series from CBS. But I’m told even that looks unlikely, as the channel will look to promote and differentiate Elementary from its own modern Holmes series: Sherlock, which is due to air its third season next year.

ITV: Over at ITV, I hear that it is only ITV 2 that is in the market for acquisitions (ITV 1 has only one US acquisition still on the books: In Plain Sight from Universal Cable Productions and, much like the BBC, is focusing on originals). I hear that ITV 2 is looking to pick up as many as three new series this year, to join current acquisitions The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. I’m told that amongst the series that the channel is considering are: The Carrie Diaries, 1600 Penn, Animal Practice and Beauty and the Beast.

Channel 4/E4/More4: Channel 4 has been fairly consistent in seeking acquisitions for its three main channels these past few years. I also hear that they may be looking at picking up two to three new series for each channel. At the top of that list for More4 is Major Crimes , the spin-off of The Closer (which begins its final season on More4 in two weeks time). I hear that other series that the 4’s are interested in include: Arrow, The Carrie Diaries, Last Resort, Go On, Revolution, Scandal, Nashville, The Family Tools and 666 Park Avenue.

Channel 5/5USA/5*: Over at Channel 5, which just recently picked up Person of Interest, I hear that the broadcaster is looking to pick up three or four new series for its portfolio of channels (Channel 5, 5USA and 5*). I also hear that Channel 5 is looking to identify the next big hit, given the recent loss of staple CSI: Miami. I’m told that amongst the shows being considered are Revolution, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Following, Last Resort, Vegas, Elementary and Chicago Fire.

BSKYB (Sky 1/Sky Atlantic/Sky Living): It would be hard to argue that BSKYB is not, perhaps, the most prolific of all UK broadcasters when it comes to picking up American shows. This year is no different and while, as with many of the UK broadcasters listed in this piece, they are not expected to make a mass announcement of acquisitions in two or three months time, I hear they may pick up as many as nine new series within the next twelve months. So it may come as no surprise that Sky is casting a wide net when evaluating which shows to pick up. Amongst the many shows being considered are: 666 Park Avenue, Last Resort, The Neighbors, Scandal, The Family Tools, Vegas, Elementary, The Following, The Mob Doctor, Revolution, Hannibal, Chicago Fire, Nashville, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast and The Carrie Diaries.

UKTV (Alibi/Dave/Really/Watch): UKTV’s channels are looking to pick up a number of new series, especially given the cancellations of Alcatraz and Sanctuary. Across their four main channels UKTV is already home to Rizzoli & Isles, Body of ProofCovert Affairs & Hart of Dixie. I hear that UKTV are looking to add between four to six series this year. Source tell me that those being considered include: Emily Owens, M.D., Zero Hour, Vegas, Elementary, Common Law, Revolution and The Carrie Diaries.

Others: I’m not hearing much of anything from sources about what (if anything) Universal Networks International (Universal Channel & Syfy UK) are looking at. There was some speculation last month that they might pick up Defiance and Political Animals, but I don’t have any solid intel on that front. Over at FX UK I am being told that they are looking at picking up Da Vinci’s Demons, a new series from writer David Goyer which is being produced by BBC Worldwide for US cable network Starz. And for those that will inevitably ask about long-standing series without UK broadcasters: sources at NBCUniversal tell me they have had “no real interest” from any UK broadcasters with regards to picking up Parks and Recreation.