EXCLUSIVE: Last month, as I was sitting down to work on a report on the US acquisitions market for 2012 (which admittedly should have been published ahead of my 2013-to-date report), I came across some notes from an acquisitions roundup I was working on last August. We’ve now published a good ten or twelve of these roundups (including yesterday’s bumper edition) confirming the status of various scripted imports with their UK broadcasters. Much to my own irritation, I found I’d allowed a number of less high-profile shows to fall between the cracks. After a number of calls over the last 8 weeks to insiders at various broadcasters and distributors, I hear that as many as 6 US scripted series may not be continuing in the UK. I have been able to confirm four of those, however, the fate of the remaining two are still hanging in the balance. Of those six shows, the four that multiple sources are telling me won’t be continuing in the UK are Fox’s animated series Bob’s Burgers, the recently cancelled Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva, ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and Showtime’s comedy series Weeds. As for the remaining two shows, I’ve confirmed that, as of this writing, the series’ UK broadcasters do not hold the rights to the new seasons of the respective series. That said, however, insiders refused to confirm whether or not an active decision had been made not to acquire future seasons of said shows or if any deals are in progress. Those two shows whose fates are hanging in the balance are TNT’s Franklin & Bash and AMC’s The Killing.
Fox’s so-so rated animated series has already been renewed through to a fourth season and E4 aired the first two seasons of the show. I heard rumblings of this series not continuing on E4 last August, however, at the time representatives of the channel informed me that the show’s status was still to be confirmed and that no firm decisions had been made. Then in January 2013, one of my sources informed me that the series would not be returning to E4’s schedule due to poor ratings. Again, I did check in with representatives of the channel regarding the status of the show, however, they declined to confirm or comment on the situation for me. I have since confirmed with two further sources that the series will not be continuing on E4 and despite one or two rumours to the contrary I’m told that there are no plans for FOX (formerly FX UK) to add the series to its animated block which includes American Dad and Family Guy.
Drop Dead Diva
Longtime TVWise readers will remember my reporting the better part of a year ago that I had learned that Sky Living had no plans to acquire the fourth season of Drop Dead Diva from Sony Pictures Television. They may well also remember that my article was updated after I was contacted by representatives of Sky Living who fervently denied said report and told TVWise that they held the rights to season 4 and “remained committed to the brand.” It turns out that despite their assertions to the contrary, my initial report was correct. Sources at BSkyB have now confirmed to me that they do not hold nor do they have any plans to acquire the fourth season of Drop Dead Diva from SPT.
Pretty Little Liars
Despite being one of ABC Family’s most successful series sources tell me that the series has failed to “click” with UK audiences. Like Bob’s Burgers I first learned that the fate of the series was in question last August. At that time one insider merely told me that discussions about the show’s third season were ongoing with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. In October there was a rumour floating around that the series would jump from MTV to Viva. I now hear that Pretty Little Liars will be going the same way as The Secret Life of The American Teenager on MTV. I have confirmed with two sources that the series will not be returning to MTV. I did reach out to representatives of MTV for confirmation or comment numerous times, however, our requests for comment were not returned.
It’s been the better part of a year since the show’s sixth season started airing on Sky Atlantic and I must admit that this one almost slipped me by. It was one of our readers – an ardent fan of the series – who asked if we knew the fate of show. I have since confirmed with my sources that Sky Atlantic only held the rights up to season six and a decision was made not to pick up future seasons of the show. My source couldn’t provide a specific reason for the decision to drop Weeds but I hear that it was a mix between ratings and wanting to spend resources on fresher US series.
Franklin & Bash
TNT’s dramedy series, which just recently entered production on its third season, is one of the two shows that are hanging in the balance. I have been able to confirm that, as things currently stand, E4 does not hold the rights to season 3. Beyond that, a firm answer is hard to pin down. One source tells me that the series will be back on E4, while another tells me that it won’t be as a decision has been made not to continue with the series. The latest scuttlebutt is that a deal is being sought with distributor Sony Pictures Television, but I’ve been unable to confirm that. I did reach out to representatives of E4 for confirmation of the rights situation, but they were unable to come back to me in time for this report. So watch this space…
Having been initially cancelled and then revived, The Killing has been a question mark that a lot of our readers have been asking about. The situation with this series is a little more complex. One of my sources tells me that the show suffered some significant ratings challenges on Channel 4 during its second season, with episodes pulling in less than 1 million viewers, even according to consolidated figures. That prompted Channel 4 to move the series to a late night slot (after 11pm) for its last few episodes. That same source tells me that as things currently stand, they don’t hold the rights to The Killing‘s third season. However, another insider tells me that no decision has been reached one way or the other about acquiring season 3. I hear that Netflix is still negotiating with Fox to secure second window rights to the shows third season and that Netflix UK & Ireland may go after first window rights should Channel 4 pass on acquiring them. I did reach out to representatives of Channel 4 for confirmation of the rights situation, but they were unable to come back to me in time for this report.