EXCLUSIVE: Syfy UK has opted no to renew their licensing deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution for The Originals after airing the first two seasons of The Vampire Diaries spin-off, TVWise has learned exclusively.
A representative for Syfy UK confirmed to TVWise that they did not have the rights to The Originals past season two and there are no plans to acquire them. As a result of the decision, the series is now without a UK broadcaster and sources tell me that there is no truth to rumours that Netflix UK are circling to pick up the show.
The Originals was originally acquired by Syfy UK in a two-season deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution in late 2013, to a fair amount of fanfare. At the time, the NBCU owned and operated channel trumpeted it as being the first series from one of the five major US broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW) to land at Syfy UK since ABC’s V reboot in 2010.
It was widely viewed as being one of the first acquisitions to lay out the new ambitions for the channel; serving as something of a signal that they would be pursuing more content from outside studios, rather than simply relying on the pipeline of content produced for the U.S. Syfy network. The acquisition was also notable as Syfy UK had to face off major competition from rival broadcasters to close the deal.
Interestingly, I’m told that there were not any prolonged talks between the two parties about a renewal. Sources also tell TVWise that the decision not to acquire season three, which was made towards the end of last year, was a strategic rather than commercial one; being driven more by the new programming needs for the channel than any issue with ratings or squabble over licence fee.
That is born out by the strong ratings performance of the show across its two seasons on Syfy UK. The Originals was consistently one of the channel’s highest rated shows, frequently pulling in more viewers than the likes of Defiance, Dominion, Continuum, Lost Girl and Haven. Only Dark Matter and The Librarians were pulling in stronger ratings for Syfy UK.
A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals revolves around the Original family of vampires, as Klaus returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans and is reunited with his diabolical former protégé Marcel. The drama series is produced by Warner Bros. Television, CBS Television Studios and Alloy Entertainment and stars Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell. The CW recently renewed The Originals for a fourth season.