At this relatively early stage, a mere two months into the 2015-2016 broadcast season, UK broadcasters have been particularly aggressive, snapping up some twelve new shows from the major Hollywood Studios (CBS Studios International, Disney Media Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Television. NBCUniversal Television Distribution and Warner Bros. International Distribution).
Sky has snapped up The Muppets and Supergirl for Sky1, and Limitless, The Catch and Blindspot for Sky Living; while UKTV has acquired Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Quantico for Alibi and Code Black for their general entertainment channel Watch; Amazon Prime Instant Video UK just this week agreed a deal for Lucifer; and Channel 4 has secured Scream Queens, Rush Hour and Containment for youth-skewing E4.
Even with this healthy amount of business, there are still plenty of deals in the works including one for Fox’s The X-Files Revival, which, as TVWise previously reported, is expected to land at Sky in the coming months; and the Showtime Wall Street drama series Billions starring Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Paul Giamatti (Downton Abbey).
TVWise has identified three new shows that UK broadcasters are closing in on. Those shows are The CW’s eagerly anticipated Arrow and The Flash spin-off DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, starring Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz and Victor Garber; Canadian sci-fi drama Killjoys starring Warehouse 13’s Aaron Ashmore, which airs on Syfy in the United States; and ABC new period crime drama Wicked City. Full details follow below..
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow follows time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter, who, having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat — one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known? The drama series hails from Warner Bros Television and stars Victor Garber (Alias), Brandon Routh (Arrow), Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who), Caity Lotz (Arrow), Ciarra Renee (Pippin), Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) and Wentworth Miller (The Flash).
While there was only a short presentation available for UK buyers to watch at the LA Screenings, there was always keen interest in this series from a select group of UK buyers (Channel 4, ITV and Sky). The working theory had been that Sky would go after only one DC drama, either CBS’ Supergirl or The CW’s DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, but not both. It now appears that theory was wrong. I’m now being told that, as previously reported, Sky is indeed in talks with Warner Bros International Television Distribution to acquire the series as part of a concerted plan to make Sky1 the “UK home of DC Comics’ TV output”, in much the same way that Sky Atlantic is the UK home to HBO (though there are no plans for a formal volume deal).
From Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta, Killjoys follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multi-planetary class war. The drama series, which has been renewed for a second season, is produced by Temple Street Productions and stars Hannah John-Kamen (Black Mirror), Luke Macfarlane (Brothers & Sisters) and Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13).
As is so often the case with Canadian dramas, Killjoys is one the flew largely under the radar of most UK acquisitions executives, who were instead more focused on what the major Hollywood Studios had to offer. That is about to change. Syfy UK, who are actively seeking content now that both Defiance and Dominion have been cancelled state-side, is now looking at acquiring Killjoys for their 2016 schedule, sources say. It’s early days but I’m told a deal is being sought with Syfy UK’s sister company NBCUniversal Television Distribution, who handle global rights for Killjoys. For those who will inevitably ask, I’m also told that the channel is still in talks with Warner Bros. to acquire the third season of The Originals as the initial deal only covered the first two seasons. A deal is expected imminently, with Syfy UK eyeing a 2016 premiere.
Wicked City is described as a character driven “true crime” procedural that explores sex, politics and popular culture across various noteworthy eras in Los Angeles history. The first season is set in the 1980s and will follow two LAPD detectives as they search for a Bonnie & Clyde-esque serial-killing team. The drama series is produced by ABC Studios and stars Ed Westwick, Taissa Farmiga, Jeremy Sisto, Gabriel Luna, Karolina Wydra, Evan Ross, Anne Winters, Jaime Ray Newman and Erika Christensen.
This new series from ABC and their sister studio ABC Studios kicks off tonight in the United States and has already garnered a fair amount of interest from a number of UK buyers. Sources told TVWise over the summer that UKTV was in talks to pick up the series from Disney Media Distribution and while representatives of UKTV denied this at the time, my sources remain adamant that this one is firmly on the radar for a spot on Watch. There has also been some interest from Channel 4, who have toyed with the notion of acquiring it for More4, especially as C4 execs under Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt have been clear about their desire to find more content for the upscale channel, especially as ratings hit The Good Wife is now coming to an end.