Acquisitions Roundup: UKTV Slate – Alibi Picks Up UK Rights To ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ Season 4, ‘Castle’ Season 6 & More

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EXCLUSIVE: With the LA Screenings now behind us, numerous UK broadcasters are in various stages of acquiring next season’s new shows for their schedules (NBC’s The Blacklist and CBS’ The Millers and We Are Men are widely tipped to become the first shows from the 2013-2014 season to land those lucrative UK sales). While all eyes are on these new series and the various deals that are being hammered out, TVWise continues its extensive acquisitions coverage with our broadcaster-by-broadcaster breakdown of which current shows will be coming back later this year or early next.

In this latest rundown (following our rundowns on Dave, Really and TCM), we take a look at Alibi. The UKTV channel launched in 2008 (as a re-brand of UKTV Drama) with a focus on crime related shows. Alibi has the fourth largest audience share of any UKTV owned and operated channel and (alongside UKTV’s flagship entertainment channel Watch) has been at the forefront of UKTV’s push into original content. The general acquisitions strategy for the channel has been finding a mix between re-runs of UK crime shows and exclusive US and Canadian content (including Murdoch Mysteries, which is a co-production with Shaftesbury Films, ITV Studios Global Entertainment and CBC); with those exclusive acquisitions having been key to the ratings successes Alibi has seen in recent years.

The highest rated acquisition has been ABC’s Body of Proof, which attracted a consolidated audience of around 0.6 million viewers for its second season and led to Alibi marginally increasing its audience share in 2012 by 1%. The channel is also home to first run episodes of ABC’s Castle, A&E’s The Glades, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, Australian drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Canadian series Republic of Doyle. And while the channel’s highest rated series Body of Proof will be bowing out this year, as the series was cancelled state-side, the rest of the aforementioned series’ will be returning to Alibi. I’ve confirmed that UKTV has picked up the rights to Castle season 6, The Glades season 3, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries season 2, Rizzoli & Isles season 4 and Republic of Doyle season 4. Full details follow below…

Castle

Created by Andrew Marlowe, Castle follows best selling author Richard Castle who, under a prior agreement with the NYPD to observe and assist a detective squad, works alongside Detective Kate Beckett to solve some of the city’s strangest crimes. The drama series is produced by ABC Studios and stars Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan, Molly Quinn, Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones, Seamus Dever and Penny Johnson Jerald.

Castle has been a fixture on Alibi since as far back as 2010, when UKTV picked up the first window rights to the series in an exclusive deal with Disney Media Distribution. The series then launched on the channel in April 2010, with the second season following in September 2010. Since it debuted on the channel, Castle has been a ratings winner for Alibi. The show’s third season, which premiered on Alibi in March 2011, attracted a consolidated audience of just under 0.4 million viewers. Following a year later in March 2012, the fourth season was more or less steady averaging an audience of just under 0.4 million viewers, some 65% up on the slot average. Following the ratings success of the show’s fourth season, UKTV secured a deal with Disney Media Distribution to pick up the exclusive first window rights to both the fifth and sixth seasons of the series. The fifth season of Castle is currently airing on Alibi, with the sixth season expected to launch in early 2014.

The Glades

Created by Clifton Campbell, The Glades follows the exploits of Jim Longworth, a Chicago homicide detective who, after being accused of sleeping with the wife of his commanding officer, moves to Palm Glade, Florida in search of the easy life. Longworth then joins the state police (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement) where he must tackle with the unusually high homicide rate in eastern Florida. The drama series stars Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, Carlos Gomez, Uriah Shelton, Jordan Wall and Michelle Hurd.

One of Alibi’s more recent acquisitions, the series was picked up by UKTV in a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution which also saw the channel acquire the UK rights to USA Network’s White Collar. The Glades launched on the channel in September 2012 and was a solid performer for the channel; attracting an average consolidated audience of 0.21 million viewers. The show’s second season launched on Alibi in January 2013 and showed some growth in the ratings, attracting an average consolidated audience of 0.24 million viewers up some 14% on the season 1 average. “It’s attracted a very loyal audience”, one insider opined. Given the ratings, the decision to continue airing new seasons of the series had been considered a foregone conclusion. I hear that the deal inked to acquire the series back in July 2012 gave Alibi the rights to seasons one through three. I’m also told that while there is no firm plan is in place, the third season of The Glades is expected to launch this Autumn.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Based on the series of novels by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is set in the 1920′s and follows the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, the pre-eminent female detective of her time, as she sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit. The drama series is produced by Every Cloud Productions and stars Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher, Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinso, Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Constable Hugh Collins and Ashleigh Cummings as Dot Williams.

One of the few non-US first run series on Alibi, the series was acquired by UKTV in a deal with All3Media International back in September 2012. The 13 episode period drama series, which has been described as an Australian Miss Marple, launched on Alibi in February 2013. The series attracted a dedicated audience, averaging a consolidated audience of just under 0.16 million viewers, just shy of the 0.21 million for the first season of The Glades. Even ahead of the series’ launch on Alibi, UKTV expressed confidence in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries by extending its licensing deal with All3Media International and acquiring the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the show’s second season. The second season, which again received an order for 13 episodes, is currently in production and is expected to launch on Australia’s ABC this Autumn, with Alibi following suit shortly thereafter.

Republic of Doyle

Created by Allan Hawco, Malcolm MacRury & Perry Chafe, Republic of Doyle follows the exploits of Doyle & Doyle, a private investigation firm headed by Jake Doyle and his father Mal Doyle, which is based in  St. John’s, Newfoundland. The drama series is produced for Canadian public broadcaster CBC and stars Allan Hawco, Seán McGinley, Lynda Boyd, Krystin Pellerin, Marthe Bernard and Mark O’Brien. In the opening episode of the show’s fourth season, titled From Dublin With Love, The extended Doyle family shows up on the doorstep unannounced and in huge trouble, leaving Jake and Mal to tangle with some formidable gangsters from across the pond; Leslie Bennett is mysteriously absent from work; Jake receives an unexpected gift.

Another non-US import, this Canadian series was acquired from Fireworks International in a two season deal back in August 2010. The show’s first season launched in October 2010, with the show’s second season following in early 2011. UKTV subsequently picked up the rights to the show’s third season, which launched in June 2012 and attracted a consolidated audience of just under 0.1 million viewers. A UKTV source tells me that the series has a “loyal audience” and the relative price tag made it advantageous to pick up the fourth season of the series which airs on Canadian Public broadcaster CBC, who are also now home to the Alibi co-production Murdoch Mysteries. The fourth season of Republic of Doyle is currently scheduled to premiere on Alibi later this year.

Rizzoli & Isles

Created by Tess Gerritsen and developed for television by Janet Tamaro, Rizzoli & Isles revolves around Jane Rizzoli, a tough-as-nails Boston police detective, and Maura Isles, a smart, impeccably dressed medical examiner from a privileged background. Despite being complete opposites, the two women share an offbeat chemistry and strong working relationship that lets them solve complex murder mysteries in the city of Boston. The drama series is produced by Warner Horizon Television and stars Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Lorraine Bracco, Bruce McGill, Lee Thompson Young, Jordan Bridges and Brian Goodman.

Rizzoli & Isles has the distinction of being Alibi’s second highest rated series behind only Body of Proof. The series, which airs on TNT in the United States, was acquired by UKTV in a deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution in May 2011. The series launched on Alibi in September 2011 and has been a ratings winner ever since. The show’s second season, which debuted in early 2012, attracted a consolidated audience of just under 0.5 million viewers; up 482% on the slot average and up 26% on the average consolidated audience for the show’s first season. It was following those “staggering” ratings that UKTV entered negotiations with Warner Bros. to pick up the rights to the show’s third season. Those negotiations closed successfully, resulting in UKTV extending its licensing deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution and picking up future seasons of the show under a multi-year contract in December 2012. The show’s third season then launched on Alibi in January 2013 and, despite a slight dip in the ratings with an average audience of 0.46 million viewers, still ranks as Alibi’s second highest rated series. The fourth season of Rizzoli & Isles, which was acquired as part of the aforementioned multi-season deal, launched state-side this past week and is currently scheduled to premiere on Alibi this August.