TVWise wraps our LA Screenings 2014 coverage with our editor’s hot picks of the 6 shows which are most likely to reach the UK by the end of the year.
This year’s screenings were particularly drama heavy. That was after two years of comedy making gains – but failing to stick. There were a number of standouts at the screenings on the drama side, fewer on the comedy side, and with the LA Screenings now behind us (a considerably lower key series of screenings were being held in London this week), UK buyers are set to begin the long acquisitions process for next season’s big hits.
After a slightly depressed mood going in, there is a sense of optimism that there will be a greater number of hit dramas this year. So which one’s are likely to reach the UK. Here’s my top 6 picks of the dramas (it’s unclear which comedies are playing well with UK buyers) most likely to reach these shores. Beyond those listed below, there are a few that seem likely to reach the UK (such as State of Affairs, Selfie and Outlander). Read on for TVWise’s hot picks…
The latest spin-off of the once formidable CSI franchise, CSI: Cyber is set within the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Unit and has Patricia Arquette as the lead. Even with a real lack of main cast beyond Arquette at this stage and a short 13 episode order, CSI: Cyber is looking like it will be one of the bigger series on the international market. While the FBI setting is a little at odds with the other CSIs, Cyber had a well rounded pilot with a decent performance from Arquette showcasing the strong Avery Ryan character. The CSI franchise has long been one of the few bankable hits for Channel 5 and with the recent losses of CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, the FTA broadcaster is widely expected to go after CSI: Cyber.
Next to Gotham this was the most impressive comic book adaptation. The pilot is strong and the casting of Grant Gustin was inspired. Like every other show listed in this article, a UK deal seems all but certain. The real question surrounding that is how is The Flash viewed. Is it a spin-off of Arrow? There has been little talk of it as a spin-off of Arrow but more a show set in the same universe. The obvious home for Flash would be Sky1, who also air Arrow. But Channel 4 and perhaps even UKTV could be good homes for this series.
Arguably the most high profile series for both studio Warner Bros. Television and the Fox network, Gotham is going to be a global series. There is no doubt on that based on buzz from the screenings. The best description of this show would be that of a cop drama set inside of the Batman universe. Its not your typical “comic book show” and the real stand out stars of this one were, understandably, Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue. The real question is where will Gotham land in the UK? A deal over here seems like a foregone conclusion and it could play equally well on Sky1, Channel 4 or Channel 5. But given the rising importance of Amazon and Netflix, could it wind up exclusively on a VOD platform?
The US version of ITV’s hit drama Broadchurch was always going to spark strong interest from the UK. Initially there were rumors that interntional distributor Shine would not be selling the drama to the UK, but that is not the case. The pilot largely follows the blue-print of the UK original and David Tennant gives a strong performance. I’m certain this one will reach the UK. I hear that owing to the way the adaptation deal was set up, ITV has right of first refusal on Gracepoint. Should they pass on picking this one up, I’d expect a bidding war from some other broadcasters. The real question is will this pop up on ITV (maybe on one of their diginets?) or would they be willing to let a rival snap it up?
Behind the new CSI and NCIS entries, Madam Secretary was the hottest new drama on CBS Studios International’s slate. The drama, which you’d be forgiven for thinking was based (at least in part) on Hillary Clinton, is about a “maverick female Secretary of State”. The pilot was strong, with standout performances from Tea Leoni and Zeljko Ivanek, who plays the foil to Leoni’s Secretary Elizabeth McCord. “The West Wing set in the State Department” is a fair description for this one. It’s easy to see why this drama became CBS President Nina Tassler’s favourite of the new season. CBS felt that this was a perfect companion piece for The Good Wife. Could Channel 4 execs come to the same conclusion?
NCIS: New Orleans
This one has a lot of heat surrounding it. Broadcasters like franchise entries which tend to be “bankable hits” and with the scheduling of NCIS: New Orleans it’s a safe bet this series will be around for a while. Then there is the strong cast, featuring Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder, and their unique characters, all of which have made New Orleans stand out. The two-part pilot has already aired in the UK on FOX, which pulled in strong ratings for the broadcaster. There are three possible homes for NCIS: New Orleans – Channel 5, Sky1 and FOX UK. All three have strong ties to the franchise, but does FOX UK have the clout to aggressively pursue the series? Time and money will tell which one snares the new NCIS.