Universal Channel Acquires UK Rights To ‘Chicago Justice’

EXCLUSIVE: Chicago Justice is coming to the UK. Universal Channel has now closed it’s deal with sister company NBCUniversal International Distribution to acquire the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the latest entry in NBC’s Chicago franchise from super-producer Dick Wolf, TVWise has learned exclusively.

Chicago Justice follows the State’s Attorney’s dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators as they navigate heated city politics and controversy head-on while fearlessly pursuing justice. As they take on the city’s high stakes and often media-frenzied cases, they must balance public opinion, power struggles within the system and their unwavering passion for the law. The drama series, which was spun-off from Chicago PD, is produced by Universal Television and stars Philip Winchester, Jon Seda, Carl Weathers, Joelle Carter, Monica Barbaro.

This deal between Universal Channel and NBCUniversal International Distribution comes more than two weeks after TVWise broke the news that Universal was the front-runner to land the show. As previously reported, Chicago Justice was always expected to land a UK deal after it was pitched to buyer at the LA Screenings last May. Sources tell TVWise that Channel 5 did briefly toy with the notion of acquiring the show, based largely on the expected high number of crossovers with Chicago PD, which airs in the UK on their digi-net 5USA.

While the Chicago franchise airs on one network in the United States (NBC), allowing the frequent crossovers to occur somewhat seamlessly, it is split up across three different broadcasters here in the UK. Sky Living holds the rights to mothership show Chicago FireChicago PD airs on 5USA; while Chicago Med airs on Universal ChannelLaw & Order: Special Victims Unit (which has had several crossovers with the franchise) also airs on Universal. Chicago Justice joins a slate of exclusive acquisitions at the channel that also includes Major Crimes and Bates Motel.

This was perhaps a natural acquisition for Universal given that, dating back to their Hallmark days, they have been the first window UK broadcaster for the various Law & Order series. Unlike the other Chicago shows, which have only tangential links to the Law & Order franchise via occasional crossovers with SVUChicago Justice has some strong tie-ins. Main character Peter Stone is the son of Ben Stone, the lead ADA on the first four seasons of Law & Order; and Richard Brooks is set to guest star on Chicago Justice, reprising his role as Ben Stone’s former deputy Paul Robinette.