Channel 4 Acquires History’s Four-Hour Miniseries ‘Houdini’

Houdini (FT)

Houdini is heading to the UK.

Channel 4 has sealed a deal with Lionsgate Television to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the four-hour miniseries, which stars Adrian Brody and began airing on the History channel in the United States last night.

Houdini follows the man (Brody) as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grigori Rasputin. The drama chronicles the life of a man who can defy death through his stunts, his visions and his mastery of illusion.

The four-hour miniseries, which is set to air on Channel 4 later this month, was penned by Nicholas Meyer, directed by Uli Edel and produced by Lionsgate Television and A&E Studios. In addition to Brody, the cast also includes Kristen Connolly (House of Cards) and Evan Jones (A Million Ways to Die in the West). The executive producers are Gerald W. Abrams and Andras Hamori.

“Houdini is the kind of premium programming that epitomizes the Lionsgate TV slate”, said Peter Iacono, Lionsgate’s Managing Director of International TV, and Guy Avshalom, COO of Lionsgate UK. “We believe that Channel 4 is the perfect home for this television event, and we expect it to resonate with audiences in the UK.”

Since entering the scripted space with Vikings back in 2012, almost every single one of History’s scripted projects have sold well on the international market. Vikings was sold to Amazon Prime Instant Video UK; while miniseries’ The Bible and Hatfields & McCoys were snapped up by Channel 5.

For Channel 4, this marks the first acquisition from one of the US studios since the LA Screenings. Houdini joins a slate of US dramas on the Channel 4 network which also includes, amongst others, Homeland, Fargo, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Shameless USA, The Good Wife, Nashville, and The 100.