BBC Two Acquires UK Rights To FX’s ‘Feud’, Eyes Late 2017 Premiere For ‘Bette And Joan’

Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series had found a UK home. BBC Two has secured the UK rights to FX Networks’ drama series Feud after striking a deal with international distributor Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, TVWise has learned.

Feud is an anthology drama that explores different famous feuds each season. The eight episode first season, which will premiere on BBC Two later this year, is subtitled ‘Bette And Joan’ and explores the bitter rivalry between Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, beginning with their collaboration on the 1962 feature film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

The anthology drama was created by Ryan Murphy, with the first season being based on a script by Jaffe Cohen
and Michael Zam which he had previously acquired. The drama series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and has already been renewed for a second season, which will focus on Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The cast for season one includes Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kathy Bates, Judy Davis, Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Jackie Hoffman and Alison Wright. The executive producers are Ryan Murphy, Tim Minear, Alexis Martin Woodall and Dede Gardner.

“Drama on BBC Two has to stand out for its authorship, unique vision and exceptional craft so I am delighted that Ryan Murphy’s brilliantly realised series Feud: Bette and Joan is coming to the channel”, Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, said in a statement. “It features some wonderful performances, a flawless recreation of period and a delicious unravelling of a personal drama that had a massive impact on modern cinema. Feud is a real treat.”.

Despite having been a major buyer of U.S. acquisitions in years past, the BBC has steered clear in recent years, for myriad financial and editorial reasons. Notably Feud is the second such first run U.S. acquisition for BBC Two, after the channel recently exercised the option they held on the second season of fellow FX anthology drama American Crime Story – which also happens to hail from Ryan Murphy. “BBC Two viewers will relish this critically-acclaimed portrayal of Old Hollywood and a famously combustible yet poignant relationship – it is a zesty cocktail of glamour, wit and grit”, commented Sue Deeks, the BBC’s Head of Programme Acquisitions, who negotiated both deals with Fox.

“Feud: Bette and Joan is a whip-smart series with fantastic performances by two of today’s greatest performers, which we’re sure will captivate and delight audiences”, added David Smyth, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution. “BBC Two is the perfect home for our next series from creator Ryan Murphy, whose The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, just won the BAFTA after airing last year on BBC Two.”

This marks the first deal for a U.S. scripted series to emerge since the recent LA Screenings, although talks between the BBC and Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution had been underway before the annual event. Feud has been on the market for several months and while initially there appeared to be little interest from UK broadcasters, that changed after FX announced that the show’s second season would focus on Charles and Diana; making it potentially more appealing to UK audiences. We’ll have a run-down of which new shows the fifteen plus UK buyers are eyeing post-screenings in the next couple of days.