British pay TV operator BSkyB has bought CBS Studios’ cop drama Blue Bloods and upcoming period drama The Borgias for its entertainment channel Sky Atlantic, which will launch on February 1.
The channel was announced in the wake of Sky’s output deal with HBO and will be primarily programmed with US far, but Sky has also announced an original UK drama series for the channel from acclaimed writer Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play), Hit and Miss, about a contract killer who is also a pre-op transsexual.
Blue Bloods stars Tom Selleck as a police commissioner and pivotal member of a family of New York cops. It has been rating well on US network CBS. The Borgias is a period drama about the infamous Italian family for US cable net Showtime. Written by Michael Hirst, who also penned Showtime hit The Tudors, the show will star Jeremy Irons and air later this year.
The Paul Abbott series is a copro between his AbbottVision production company and Red Production, the UK indie run by Nicola Schindler. Sky said it was already in talks with other UK on and off-screen talent “to follow Paul’s lead for future projects”.
Sky Atlantic rolls out on February 2 and will be available to all of Sky’s 10 million subs. HBO series will form the backbone of the channel alongside other acquired US series and some homegrown content.
“Unlike other broadcasters, Sky won’t hide these series in the twilight hours,” said Stuart Murphy, director of programmes for Sky 1 HD and Sky Atlantic HD.” He added: “Sky Atlantic HD is a key part of our strategy to help further grow the content gap between what you can get with Sky, and what you can get elsewhere.”