UKTV’s Drama Channel Acquires PBS’ U.S. Civil War Drama ‘Mercy Street’

PBS first original scripted series in more than a decade is crossing the Atlantic. UKTV’s Drama channel has secured the exclusive UK rights to Mercy Street, the U.S. public broadcaster’s scripted drama series from Ridley Scott which is set during the American Civil War, after striking a deal with the distribution division of Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, TVWise has confirmed. The show’s six episode first season is set to premiere on Drama in May.

Mercy Street is set on the home front of Virginia in the spring of 1862 and follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict; Mary Phinney, a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, a naive young Confederate belle. Political persuasions open a window into a world where the unprecedented medical demands create a chaotic atmosphere and challenge doctors, nurses and patients in unimaginable ways, while the pressure of Union occupation threatens to tear apart the Confederate family.

The drama series, which was recently cancelled following its second season, is produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Sawbone Films and stars Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Returned), Gary Cole (Veep, The Good Wife, Office Space), Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline), Peter Gerety (The Wire, Syriana, Charlie Wilson’s War), AnnaSophia Robb (The Carrie Diaries). The executive producers are Ridley Scott, David Zabel, David W. Zucker, Lisa Q. Wolfinger.

Mercy Street is the latest in a line of exclusive acquisitions for Drama, which is primarily positioned as a channel for repeat dramas. They started down this path with The Pinkertons and have since taken exclusive rights to such shows as Deadline GallipoliThe Red Tent and The Brokenwood Mysteries. As UKTV’s Alexandra Finlay previously told TVWise, the key criteria for a first run drama on the channel is that it have a  “nostalgic quality”. It’s worth noting that the deal between UKTV and Electric was actually concluded several months ago.