Update, 5:30pm: My sources are now telling me that BBC Four’s deal with NBCUniversal is for the first two seasons of Parks and Recreation. I hear that the two season pickup is due to the short episode run of the show’s first season (6 episodes). If the series proves to be successful for BBC Four, they will lock down the rights for the remaining seasons of the show. Such a deal is typical when it comes to acquisitions, with life-of-series deals being more rare and only tending to be inked when a series has proven to be a hit or if the series in question was subject to heavy bidding from multiple broadcasters (which I’m told wasn’t the case here, with BBC Four being the only interested UK broadcaster).
Previous, 4:10pm: The residents of Pawnee are heading to the UK. BBC Four has closed a deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to NBC’s comedy series Parks and Recreation. My sources are also telling me that the show’s first season is set to premiere on BBC Four in Spring 2013.
Parks and Recreation was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur and follows Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department of the local government of Pawnee, Indiana. The series follows Leslie as she tries her best to deliver for the local community despite the best efforts of her boss, Ron Swanson, who is opposed to government and does his best to undermine government work at every turn. The comedy series, which is currently airing its fifth season on NBC in the US, stars Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir and Retta.
BBC Four’s acquisition of Parks and Recreation comes after months of negotiations with international distributor NBCUniversal. Word initially leaked out in August that the channel had picked up the quirky comedy series. But it was at that time that TVWise revealed that, contrary to other reports, the deal between the BBC and NBCUniversal had not actually been finalised, although both parties were confident that a deal would be reached. The sitcom joins a growing line-up of acquired programming on the channel which includes, amongst others, Australian mini-series Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, Danish drama series Forbrydelsen and the Italian series Inspecto Montalbano.
TVWise’s Acquisitions Scorecard has been updated with this new information.