In a surprise move, Channel 5 has sealed a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to Fox’s upcoming six episode The X-Files revival, TVWise has learned. The X-Files event series, referred to internally at Fox as season 10, will premiere on Channel 5 in 2016.
From series creator Chris Carter, The X-Files Revival is envisioned as a follow up to the original nine season series and both feature films. Ten Thirteen Productions and 20th Century Fox Television are producing, with Carter and Glen Morgan serving as executive producers. The duo also serve as writers and directors alongside Darin Morgan and James Wong.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are reprising their roles as FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully, while other returning cast members include Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, Annabeth Gish, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood and Tom Braidwood. Joining the cast for the revival are Robbie Amell, Lauren Ambrose, Joel McHale, Annet Mahendru, Rhys Darby, Aliza Vellani and Kumail Nanjiani.
The closed deal, which includes some 20 episodes of the original series which were hand-picked by Chris Carter, comes after a heated bidding war between Channel 5 and a number of UK broadcasters including Sky1, who as recently as three months ago were tipped as the frontrunner to land the series.
C5 were able to beat their rivals to the punch thanks in large part to the war-chest afforded them by the Viacom acquisition and sources tell TVWise that have paid a premium for the new episodes (sources are pegging the price tag at north of £480K per ep). The agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution was brokered by Channel 5’s Head of Acquisitions Katie Keenan.
“Securing the UK premiere of the hugely anticipated return of The X-Files is a major coup for the channel and will create one of the television events of 2016,” said Ben Frow, Channel 5’s Director of Programmes. “This acquisition underlines our ambition to deliver a diverse slate of brilliant, must-see programming on Channel 5.”
This marks the latest high-profile deal for Channel 5, who have been heavily investing in acquisitions since the Viacom merger. Just last week they struck a deal with NBCU to acquire the UK rights to Heroes Reborn, which will go out on digi-net 5*; and earlier this week TVWise revealed that there are plans afoot to boost the level of first run US acquisitions on 5USA.