EXCLUSIVE: With the upfronts set to kick off in New York City on Monday and the LA Screenings just behind on Thursday, expect a lot of rumblings, chatter and buzz over the coming weeks as to which new shows from the 2013-2014 season will be heading to the UK. Two shows which are already locks for both series orders and UK sales are ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. and CBS’ NCIS: Red, but beyond that things won’t be any clearer until the LA Screenings are done with. Until then, TVWise presents its latest rundown of industry intel (buzz if you will) on the status of various imports, including the third season of TNT’s Dallas, the fifth season of USA Network’s In Plain Sight, future seasons of NBC’s Parks and Recreation and the latest chatter on a UK sale for The Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals.
TNT’s Dallas reboot was recently renewed for a third season of 15 episodes, slated to bow on the network in early 2014. There has been A LOT of speculation, thanks in no small part to an article in a certain tabloid a few months back, that the series would not be continuing to air on Channel 5 due to its rather substantial drop in ratings in season 2 compared to season 1. As I initially reported last August, the deal that Channel 5 inked with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution was a life-of-series deal and as such they will continue to hold first window rights to new seasons of Dallas for just as long as the series is being produced. Word is that the third season of Dallas will again air “close” to its airing state-side, though I understand that there will be heavier promotion for the series, which is rumoured to be returning to a prime-time slot, rather than the 11pm slot the series has been airing in for the majority of its second season due to the aforementioned ratings issues.
In Plain Sight
USA Network’s drama series about the US Marshals Service’s Witness Protection Program ran for five seasons in the United States and the show’s fourth season just recently kicked off in the UK in a late-night slot on ITV. I have now confirmed that ITV has sealed a deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution to acquire the rights to the 8 episode fifth (and final) season of the series. This follows on from Universal Channel recently acquiring the second window rights to the show’s first three seasons. There is no official word on when season five will air on ITV, though from what I hear it likely wont be until 2014.
The spin-off series of The Vampire Diaries which was just recently picked up to series by The CW is already generating some solid buzz. Owing to the fact that the series hails from a solid performing series and the backdoor pilot episode has now aired on both sides of the Atlantic. there has been a lot of questions about a UK sale for the series. Naturally, ITV2 is considered a likely buyer for the show due to the fact that they also air The Vampire Diaries. After reaching out to one of my sources I’m told that it is on Angela Jain’s [ITV’s Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions] radar, but no firm decision has been made one way or another on acquiring the series from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. My source tells me that the decision will be made once the LA Screenings are over with and after they have a clearer picture of whether resources are best spent acquiring The Originals or other new drama series’. Though, I’m told by insiders that they would expect strong competition for the series, largely from Sky Living and UKTV (presumably for their Watch channel).
Parks and Recreation
NBC’s comedy series Parks and Recreation, widely tipped to get the nod for a sixth season in the next 72 hours, was recently picked up for broadcast in the UK by BBC Four. As TVWise reported at the time of the acquisition, the BBC’s deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution was only for the first two seasons of the show. The BBC isn’t confirming, but sources now tell me that the BBC is in talks with NBCUITD to extend its licensing deal and pick up the rights to subsequent seasons of the show (one source tells me it is for season 3-5). The move to pick up the remaining seasons had been largely expected. Since premiering on BBC Four in March 2013 the series has been a decent performer for the channel, averaging just shy of 350K viewers.