Blair Underwood’s Ironside is heading to the UK.
Channel 5 has closed a deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the short-lived reboot of Ironside, which premiered on NBC last year and lasted a mere 4 episodes (though 9 were produced) before being cancelled. C5 has picked up the drama for their digi-net 5USA, with plans to premiere it in mid-March.
A reboot of the 1960s series of the same name, Ironside follows a tough, sexy and acerbic police detective relegated to a wheelchair after a shooting. He pushes and prods his hand-picked team to solve the most difficult cases in the city. The drama series is produced by Universal Television and stars Blair Underwood, Spencer Grammer, Kenneth Choi, Pablo Schreiber, Brent Sexton and Neal Bledsoe.
Ironside joins a number of first run US imports on free-to-air broadcaster Channel 5, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Dallas and Person of Interest. The pick up of the short-lived drama is the latest low-cost buy for Channel 5 who, following decisions to drop Once Upon A Time and Justified, have been targeting the first run rights to cable series such as Helix and Cedar Cove, which command lower fees from international distributors than their network counterparts. The company also holds the free-to-air rights to a number of shows, which have previously aired in the UK, such as NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Longmire and Falling Skies.
A UK sale for Ironside is also good news for international distributor NBCUniversal International Television Distribution. The global sales arm of mega-media corporation NBCUniversal – who operate such US networks as NBC, Syfy and USA Network – was shopping six new shows from the 2013-2014 season at last year’s LA Screenings and before this deal had only sold one; with Brooklyn Nine-Nine landing at E4 some months ago. Other distributors, notably Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, have seen greater success with the series that they were shopping as, prior to this deal, 31% of new shows had been sold to the UK, with WB selling 6 of their 10 new shows.
TVWise’s Acquisitions Scorecard has been updated with this new information.