EXCLUSIVE: Mulder and Scully are returning to their long-time UK home. TVWise understands that Sky1 – who held first window rights to the first nine seasons of the show (BBC had a repeat window) – is close to a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Fox’s six episode The X-Files revival series. Representatives of Sky declined to comment.
From series creator Chris Carter, The X-Files Revival is envisioned as a follow up to the original nine season series and both feature films. Ten Thirteen Productions and 20th Century Fox Television are producing, with Carter and Glen Morgan serving as executive producers. The duo also serve as writers and directors alongside Darin Morgan and James Wong.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are reprising their roles as FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully, while other returning cast members include Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, Annabeth Gish, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood and Tom Braidwood. Joining the cast for the revival are Robbie Amell, Lauren Ambrose, Joel McHale, Annet Mahendru, Rhys Darby, Aliza Vellani and Kumail Nanjiani.
It should be stressed that this is not quite a done deal yet and sources have indicated that Sky has been facing serious competition, largely from Channel 5 and Amazon Prime Instant Video UK, for the revival. Before the LA Screenings, numerous UK broadcasters were eyeing the revival, including FOX UK, Channel 4 and ITV. Even UKTV briefly toyed with the notion of bringing The X-Files to Watch. In fact the only broadcaster who wasn’t contemplating a play for the show was A+E Networks UK.
Sources also tell me that this is a complicated, expensive deal that would also include the previous nine seasons of the show, which would be made available via the Boxsets section of Sky’s on-demand offerings, just as the back-catalogue of 24 was made available prior to the premiere of 24: Live Another Day. The plan, I’m told, would be to debut The X-Files on Sky1 within 24 hours of its US broadcast on Fox.
Should the deal close, and sources tell me that it will, this would be the most significant sale for The X-Files revival that Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution has been able to secure since it hit the market in May. A couple of international broadcasters have already acquired the new run, but progress has been far slower than execs at the studio had been expecting.
Now part of that is down to the fact that there was nothing for international buyers to watch at the LA Screenings and the studio has been attempting to rack up sales based on the X-Files brand alone. It is no coincidence that the first episode will be premiering at MIPCOM next month, with Fox hoping to close a flurry of deals with buyers on the ground in Cannes.