The LA Screenings are now behind us and the acquisitions teams at the various UK broadcasters are currently in the process of evaluating the new crop of shows and entering the deal-making process with the Hollywood studios (and a few independent distributors). While all eyes are inevitably on the new shows headed to the UK, TVWise will be taking a look at the current roster of U.S. scripted series, confirming which shows will in fact be returning to their UK broadcasters.
Following our extensive coverage of UKTV (from the returning series on Alibi, Dave & Watch; to an in-depth interview with Director of Programme Acquisitions Catherine Mackin and Head of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Alexandra Finlay; and follow up pieces on more international drama co-productions & UKTV’s journey from ‘bit player’ to becoming a major force with the studios), we turn our attention to Syfy UK.
The genre channel, which is owned and operated by NBCU’s global channels division Universal Networks International, has been a fairly steady buyer of premium US content from the Hollywood Studios in recent years, snapping up series such as The Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals, a range of Syfy original series (Haven, Defiance, Dominion) and a couple of international dramas (Lost Girl, Continuum).
By and large, the vast majority of their series originate from basic cable in the US and as such Syfy UK more or less avoided any cancellations this past Upfronts season (cable shows are generally given more of a chance to build an audience than their broadcast counterparts). That being the case, most of the channel’s line-up of first run series will be returning. I’ve confirmed that Syfy has picked up the UK rights to the second season of 12 Monkeys, the fourth and final season of Continuum, and the second season of The Librarians Full details follow below…
Penned by Terry Matalas & Travis Fickett, 12 Monkeys tells the story of a time traveller from a decimated future in a high-stakes race against the clock. Utilizing a dangerous and untested method of time travel, he journeys from 2043 to the present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will all but annihilate the human race. The drama series is produced by Universal Cable Productions and stars Aaron Stanford (Nikita), Amanda Schull (Pretty Little Liars), Noah Bean (Damages) and Kirk Acevedo (Fringe).
Picked up as part of Syfy UK’s on-going strategy to mirror the output of their U.S. sister network as much as possible, Syfy UK acquired the feature film reboot in a multi-year deal with sister company NBCUniversal International Television Distribution back in December 2014, with the series subsequently launching on Syfy UK this past February. Much like it’s performance state-side, 12 Monkeys proved to be a big time-shifted gainer with the series averaging a consolidated audience of around 100K viewers, up on the channel’s 12 month slot average. The show’s second season is tentatively scheduled to premiere on Syfy UK in early 2016.
Created by Simon Barry, Continuum follows Kiera Cameron, a cop from the future who finds herself trapped in the present day after a group of fanatical terrorists escapes their planned execution by vaulting back in time to 2012, inadvertently sweeping Kiera along the way. The drama series is produced by Reunion Pictures in association with Shaw Media and stars Rachel Nichols, Erick Knudsen, Victor Webster, Tony Amendola, Stephen Lobo, Lexa Doig, William B. Davis, Roger Cross, Luvia Peterson, Terry Chen and Omari Newton.
Continuum has had something of an interesting history here in the UK. The sci-fi series was initially acquired by Syfy UK in 2012, when the then international distributor gk-TV was racking up deals thanks to strong reviews coming out of Canada. That deal gave Syfy UK rights to the first two season, which the channel aired – to decent ratings – in 2012 and 2013, however, when the time came to renew their licensing deal and pick up season three, there was an issue in reaching an agreement and it appeared as though the show would not return to the channel.
It was only after Endemol assumed control of the distribution rights, that those hurdles were cleared and Syfy UK agreed a deal with Endemol Worldwide Distribution (now Endemol Shine International) to pick up the show’s third season. The 13 episode third run debuted on the channel earlier this year, averaging a tick above 100K viewers, down somewhat from the averages for the first and second seasons, but still up on the channel’s 12 month slot average. Syfy UK also holds the rights to the six episode fourth and final season, with plans to air it in early 2016.
Based on Stephen King’s novella The Colorado Kid, Haven tells the story of Audrey Parker, an FBI agent who comes to the idyllic town of Haven, Maine on assignment only to discover a personal connection to the town through her long lost mother. Audrey opts to stay in Haven to investigate ‘The Troubles’, a series of paranormal events that have previously struck the town and have suddenly started up again. The drama series is produced by Entertainment One and stars Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour.
Haven is co-commissioned by Syfy UK’s parent company Universal Networks International, so there was never any real chance of it not continuing on the genre channel. While ratings have been decreasing in recent seasons, the show is still a strong performer for Syfy UK, with the opening 13 episodes of the show’s fifth season averaging an audience of around 140K viewers. The remaining 13 episodes of Haven season five, which feature William Shatner in a recurring role, will unspool on Syfy UK this Autumn, shortly after they debut on the Syfy network in the United States.
A follow up to the Librarian TV movie franchise, The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world. The organisation consists of Caretaker Jenkins and Librarian Flynn Carsen, who has recruited four people to aid him in his task. The drama series is produced by Electric Entertainment and stars Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, John Larroquette, Lindy Booth, John Kim, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtin, Matt Frewer and Noah Wyle, who reprises his role from the original TV movies.
Originally snapped up for Universal Channel as part of a global deal between Universal Networks International and Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, The Librarians ultimately switched to Syfy UK just ahead of its debut in December 2014. It quickly established itself as a hit, smashing previous records to become the channel’s highest rated overnight broadcast in five years. Across its first season, the series pulled in an average audience of just under 400K viewers, making it Syfy UK’s highest rated series. As part of the deal to acquire the show, Syfy UK holds the rights to the second season, which is currently being eyed for a late 2015 premiere, shortly behind its debut on TNT in the United States.