Sony Channel Takes Linear UK Rights To ‘Orange Is The New Black’

Orange Is The New Black is coming to UK television.

Sony Channel, the flagship entertainment channel operated by Sony Pictures Television Networks here in the UK, has secured the linear rights to the award winning Netflix original series after striking a multi-year deal with series producer and international distributor Lionsgate Television, TVWise has learned.

“We recognise the demand for premium content that appeals to a broad audience which is exactly what Orange Is The New Black offers,” said Kate Marsh, Sony Pictures Telvision Network’s Executive Vice President, Western Europe, International Networks, “It is widely recognised as a must-see series that we’re pleased to make part of our offering on Sony Channel.”

Orange Is The New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman, whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner Alex results in her arrest and year-long detention in a federal penitentiary. Piper must trade her comfortable New York life with fiance Larry for an orange prison jumpsuit and a baffling prison culture where she is forced to question everything she believes and form unexpected new alliances with a group of eccentric and outspoken inmates. The drama series, which has been renewed through season seven, stars Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox and Taryn Manning.

This deal between Sony Pictures Television Networks and Lionsgate is notable as it marks the first time that the linear rights to a Netflix original series has been licensed to a traditional UK broadcaster. It also speaks to the growing ambitions of Sony Channel who have, over the past few years, steadily been increasing their investment in U.S. acquisitions; a path they first started down in late 2012 when they acquired Community – which at the time was without a UK broadcaster – from sister company Sony Pictures Television. The deal also comes mere months before the show’s fifth season is set to launch on Netflix UK.

“We’re pleased to partner with our friends at Sony Pictures Television as we continue to bring Orange is the New Black to new audiences and platforms around the world,” said Lionsgate President of International Television & Digital Distribution Peter Iacono.  “Orange is a global phenomenon with ever-growing appeal, and we expect it to be a great addition to Sony’s line-up of must-see premium programming that will resonate with their audience for years to come.”