EXCLUSIVE: Viacom has yet to launch Spike UK just yet, but the nascent channel has already set its sights on two new exclusive drama series.
TVWise understands that Spike UK is in talks with Lagardère Entertainment and Content Film & Television to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to action series Transporter: The Series and Canadian cop drama 19-2, respectively. Per sources, the deals cover the first two seasons of both shows, which are expected to premiere on Spike UK later this year.
Based on the film series of the same name, Transporter The Series follows Frank Martin, a professional “transporter” paid to pick up and deliver people or cargo from anywhere in the world. Frank is the very best at what he does and handles only the most difficult dangerous and assignments. The drama series, which is commissioned by France’s M6 and Canadian networks The Movie Network and Movie Central, is produced by Atlantique Productions and stars Chris Vance (Prison Break).
An English language adaptation of the French-Canadian series of the same name, 19-2 follows the lives of patrol officers Ben Chartier and Nick Barron. Nick is a veteran on Montreal’s urban police force and has just returned from a three-month leave following the traumatic shooting of his partner. On his first day back, he is unhappy to learn he has been partnered with Ben, who has just transferred from a small town to restart his life in the big city. The cop drama is produced for Bell Media’s Bravo channel by Montréal’s Sphère Média Plus & Echo Media and stars Jared Keeso (Falling Skies), Adrian Holmes (Arrow) and Benz Antoine.
Transporter and 19-2 would represent the latest scripted buys for Spike UK, who have been stocking up on exclusive drama series such as Olympus, Justified and Sons Of Anarchy ahead of their April 15th launch. The channel has also picked up the linear broadcast rights to all five seasons of Breaking Bad after agreeing a deal with Sony Pictures Television.
Both acquisitions clearly demonstrate Viacom’s intention that Spike UK become a major player when it comes to exclusive first run scripted imports. Sources say that the channel will be further demonstrating that after the upcoming LA Screenings, with the intention to pick up at least one “major” drama out of the yearly event.
A representative of Spike UK declined to confirm the acquisition of Transporter: The Series and 19-2.