EXCLUSIVE: Michael Shanks, Erica Durance and the staff of Toronto’s Hope-Zion Hospital are heading to the UK. I’ve just learned that UKTV has closed a deal with Entertainment One (eOne) to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Canadian drama series Saving Hope for its Watch channel. Sources familiar with the deal between eOne and UKTV tell me that it covers both the show’s first season and the upcoming 18 episode second season, which is set to premiere on CTV in Canada tonight.
Created by Malcolm MacRury and Morwyn Brebner, Saving Hope picks up shortly after Charlie Harris, the Chief of Surgery of Toronto’s Hope-Zion Hospital, ends up in a coma. He leaves the hospital in chaos and his fiancée and fellow surgeon, Alex Reid, in a state of shock. Along with newly-arrived star surgeon, Joel Goran, Alex races to save Harris’ life. The comatose Dr. Harris explores the hospital halls in “spirit” form, not sure if he’s a ghost or a figment of his own imagination while Reid and her fellow doctors press on to save his life and those of their other patients. The drama series is produced by Entertainment One and stars Erica Durance (Smallville), Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1), Daniel Gillies, (The Vampire Diaries), Huse Madhavji (Combat Hospital), Julia Taylor-Ross (Rookie Blue), and Kristopher Turner (The Listener).
Saving Hope has been a solid performer for CTV in Canada and has been sold by distributor eOne to numerous international broadcasters. The most high profile buyer was NBC, who purchased the series last year to plug the holes in their Summer schedule. Unfortunately, while the series was a hit north of the border, it failed to make any real impact in the US and while CTV renewed Saving Hope for a second season, NBC decided to quietly drop the series. Having now found a home on Watch, Saving Hope joins a rapidly growing line-up of first run content on UKTV’s network of channels, which are also home to such series as The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, ABC’s Castle and NBC’s Grimm.