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) Syfy UK, Universal Channel and FOX UK we turn our attention ITV’s youth-skewing ITV2.
ITV2 has been the primary destination for ITV’s U.S. acquisitions in recent years (though increasingly ITV Encore will be home to upscale U.S. drama) and since launch has aired a plethora of U.S. dramas and comedies including Supernatural, The Office, Two And A Half Men, 666 Park Avenue, Gossip Girl, Animal Practice, Up All Night and Ben & Kate.
The channel has already signalled their intention to pursue more U.S. content for ITV2 with the recent bumper deal with Fox for Seth MacFarlane’s animated series and ITV’s Sasha Breslau has stated that “in an ideal world” she would like to pick up one new comedy and one new drama from the 2015-2016 season. Beyond that, the channel’s roster of first run imports is staying in tact as TVWise has confirmed that ITV2 has picked up the UK rights to Mom season 3, Scorpion season and The Vampire Diaries season 7. Full details follow below…
Created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky & Gemma Baker, Mom follows a newly sober single mom who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. The comedy series is produced by Warner Bros. Television & Chuck Lorre Productions and stars Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Nate Corddry, Matt Jones, French Stewart, Blake Garrett Rosenthal, Spencer Daniels and Sadie Calvano.
Presently the only first run U.S. comedy series on the channel’s slate (the rights package for Family Guy and Bordertown doesn’t come into effect until later this year), Mom has been a VERY important title for ITV2, especially as it was the first US comedy to “click” with the audience following a slew of short-lived attempts such as Ben & Kate, Up All Night and Animal Practice. The show’s second season, which recently wrapped its run on ITV2, once again pulled in decent ratings. ITV2 holds the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Mom’s third season out of the long-running deal they inked with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution to acquire the series in August 2013. The third season of Mom is expected to premiere on ITV2 in 2016.
Created by Nick Santora and Nicholas Wootton, Scorpion revolves around Walter, an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. The drama is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Ari Stidham and Ernie Hudson.
Scorpion is the most recent drama acquisition for ITV2, who snapped up the series in a multi-year deal with CBS Studios International last year. At the time the acquisitions was considered something of a coup, especially as multiple UK broadcasters had been pursuing this “procedural with a twist”. The show was a hit with the 16-34 demo that ITV2 targets on went on to become the channel’s highest rated current acquisition since its premiere last October. The strong reception for Scorpion, leaved the door open for further US drama acquisitions on the channel. “We’d love more drama on the channel”, ITV’s Head of Acquired Series Sasha Breslau recently told TVWise. “It’s just finding the right show and obviously managing to secure it, because it’s such a competitive marketplace. ITV2 holds the UK rights to the second season of Scorpion as part of their prior licensing deal with CBS Studios International. The new season is expected to air on ITV2 later this year.
The Vampire Diaries
Based on the book series by LJ Smith, The Vampire Diaries tells the story of two vampire brothers, obsessed with the same girl, in a small town where supernatural beings live in secret amongst its residents. The drama series is produced by CBS Television Studios & Warner Bros. Television and stars Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Matthew Davis, Michael Malarkey, Zach Roerig and Michael Trevino.
The Vampire Diaries is ITV2 longest running and most recognisable first run U.S. drama acquisition, having been a part of the channel’s line-up since 2009. The ratings for the show have slipped by a fair amount over the past few years, promoting ITV to push the show into a late-night slot this past season. Even so, The Vampire Diaries still has an ardent audience on ITV2 and is a very important series for ITV execs (one source referred to it as a “legacy title”) and, as such, they have picked up the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the upcoming seventh season from international distributor Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. The seventh season, which will be the first not to feature main cast member Nina Dobrev, will premiere on ITV2 in late October/early November – close behind the US broadcast on The CW.