EXCLUSIVE: The past couple of weeks have been fairly heavy on the acquisitions front. There are deals underway for the UK rights to ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., CBS’The Millers and We Are Men and NBC’s The Blacklist (and numerous others); Sky Living acquired the rights to the short-lived Fox series The Mob Doctor; Syfy UK acquired Sharknado and the third season of The Almighty Johnsons, Watch acquired Canadian series Saving Hope; A+E Network UK announced the launch of Lifetime and acquired Damages, The Client List and a number of Lifetime TV movies; and Comedy Central UK passed on acquiring the final seasons of 30 Rock and The Office. With all that, there has still been questions about UK broadcasts of FX’s The Bridge, Syfy’s newest series Helix and NBC’s upcoming drama series Ironside and I’ve been able to pin down the current statuses of all three. Full details follow below…
FX’s newest drama series The Bridge, which follows two detectives, one from the United States and one from Mexico, who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, launches state-side this week and there has been some question as to whether or not this series will be airing on FOX UK. The short answer is no it won’t. The long answer (spoiler: it’s still no) is that FOX UK’s parent Fox International Channels secured global rights to the series in an exclusive deal with Shine International back in February, that also made them a co-producer on the series. I’m told that the deal does give FOX UK the option to air the series, and while it will being rolling out in the majority of FIC territories, such as Australia and Italy, the UK won’t be one of them as reps of the channel have confirmed that they will not be airing The Bridge. I hear that while the deal gives FIC rights to the series in most of its international footprint, the UK is not covered by said deal. I understand that that is due to the fact that Shine Group’s UK production company Kudos Film & TV is producing its own Broen remake for Sky Atlantic and a premium channel in France (where FIC does not have an entertainment channel) titled The Tunnel.
The latest entry from Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ron D. Moore, Helix follows a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak, only to find themselves pulled into a terrifying life-and-death struggle that holds the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation. The drama series is being produced by Sony Pictures Television with Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Lynda Obst (Sleepless in Seattle, Contact), Steven Maeda (The X-Files) and Cameron Porsandeh serving as executive producers. David Slade is directing. Helix was picked up with a 13 episode straight-to-series order back in March and while no cast members are currently in place, the series has already generated a fair amount of interest from international broadcasters. I hear that Syfy UK, not yet willing to commit to anything, are keeping a close eye on the series. The interest is expected as the channel has, by and large, looked to replicate the scripted output of the US Syfy. But this is not as standard as most, as this acquisition would require a deal with Sony Pictures Television, rather than corporate sibling NBCUniversal International Television Distribution (as was the case withDefiance, Eureka and Warehouse 13). The sort of buzz I’m hearing from sources at the channel on Helix is similar to that which I heard from them in June 2012 when they were also keeping a close eye on Defiance. That resulted in Syfy UK (and Universal Networks International as a whole) acquiring the series for broadcast very close to its US premiere.
One of NBC’s new series for the 2013-2014 season, Irosnide follows Det. Robert Ironside, a fearless cop who won’t stop until the guilty are brought to justice. He and his trusted, handpicked team of specialists — Virgil, Holly and Teddy, as well as his former partner Gary and boss, Det. Ed Rollins — will do whatever it takes to solve New York’s most difficult and notorious crimes. As a detective, Ironside’s instincts are second to none, and those around him have to stay on their toes if they want to keep up because when his spine was shattered by a bullet two years ago, Ironside swore he’d never let a wheelchair slow him down. The drama series is produced by Universal Television and stars Blair Underwood, Pablo Schreiber, Spencer Grammer, Neal Bledsoe, Brent Sexton and Kenneth Choi. I reported shortly after the LA Screenings that noise coming out of Universal Channel was that Ironside was a series that they were strongly looking at for their schedule. That hasn’t changed, with sources at UNI still high on the series, but now I hear they are not the only interested party. I was contacted by a source on Friday morning who informs me that Ironside is one series that Channel 5 will also be going after. The move would fit into Ben Frow’s stated desire to find another unique series with a strong character à la The Mentalist.