Universal Channel has closed a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Fox’s upcoming drama series Sleepy Hollow, which is set to premiere state-side on September 16th.
Written by Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, Sleepy Hollow is based on The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow and follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil. The drama series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television & K/O Paper Products and stars Tom Mison, John Chu, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter and Nicole Beharie. The pilot was directed by Len Wiseman, with Orci, Kurtzman and Heather Kadin serving as executive producers.
The acquisition of Sleepy Hollow follows on from Universal Channel’s recent acquisitions of USA Network’s drama series Graceland and A&E’s Bates Motel and is said to be part of a new acquisitions strategy following their recent rebrand to focus more on character centric dramas, rather than their usual procedural fare such as Major Crimes and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The Universal Networks International owned Universal Channel secured the UK rights to Sleepy Hollow following an extremely heated bidding war, with other interested broadcasters understood to have been UKTV and BSkyB.
“With Bates Motel set to make its UK premier on Universal Channel, we’ve been looking for further distinctive, new content to bring our character-focused positioning to life”, said Nicky Douglas, Managing Director, Universal Networks International, UK. “With truly magnetic and intriguing central characters, both Sleepy Hollow and Graceland deliver that and also tap into the universal and relatable themes of belief and trust which will resonate and appeal to our core viewers and new audiences alike.”
While Steve Cornish, Senior Vive-President and Managing Director of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, added: “We are thrilled that Sleepy Hollow, from the creators of the Transformers and Star Trek movies, and Jeff Eastin’s Graceland will premiere on Universal Channel. Both shows are wildly entertaining and are packed with intriguing, complex and distinctive characters. They will definitely consolidate the channel’s new positioning perfectly and we really look forward to working with them on successful launches.”
TVWise’s Acquisitions Scorecard has been updated with this new information.