The United Kingdom is one of the most important markets for the Hollywood studios when it comes to selling their new big-budget dramas and comedies; the lack of output deals and the spending power of the commercial broadcasters means that they are a major priority post-LA Screenings.
British pay broadcaster Sky has been on a content splurge in the last few years and this year will undoubtedly see similar expenditure on US series. Sophie Turner Laing and her team, including Stuart Murphy and Sarah Wright, were out in force at the Screenings and will likely be spending the next few days and weeks working out how many shows they can afford. Warner Bros’ The Following is ideal for Sky 1 and Sony’s Last Resort will appeal to their male skewing demo. Meanwhile, The Carrie Diaries and Alyssa Milano-fronted Mistresses remake could both work well on Sky Living.
Five’s director of programmes Jeff Ford is a regular at the LA Screenings and he will likely be looking to pick up a number of series from this year’s trip. Last year’s significant volume deal with Warner Bros may help in his pursuit of The Following (despite likely competition from Sky 1 and Channel 4), and The Chicago Fire could be a perfect companion for the channel’s Law and Order franchise. Outside bet? Elementary.
Channel 4 has been spending serious amount of cash at the Screenings in recent years; will Gill Hay and her team find as much to excite them this year? Warner Bros’ multicamera comedy Partners and NBC Universal’s Matthew Perry-fronted comedy Go On could fit in nicely with its Thursday night comedy block on digital net E4, while Gaumont’s Hannibal or CBS’ Vegas could be big-ticket purchases for the main network. Made In Jersey and The Mob Doctor could both be paired with successful legal drama import The Good Wife.
ITV doesn’t spend a lot of money on new US series for its main channel, but Sasha Breslau’s team could be tempted to go shopping. An outlandish bid for Sherlock Holmes series Elementary could set up another X Factor-vs-The Voice type face-offwith the BBC (whose own Sherlock will return next year). However, more likely will be a couple of purchases for younger-skewing network ITV2; Warner Bros-distributed The Carrie Diaries would sit perfectly on the channel as would superhero series Arrow.
The British public broadcaster has significantly scaled down the number of US shows it acquires and is largely focusing on cable dramas and Scandinavian imports. However an audacious bid for Mistresses, a remake of its own female-skewing drama, would be very interesting.
UKTV controller Emma Tennant told TBI before the Screenings that Watch was going to be a focus for the company and that it was looking for thrillers and sci-fi shows. As such, JJ Abrams’ Revolution with its Jericho-style end of the world drama could be a perfect fit and Arrow will likely be on the company’s radar. Disney’s crime drama Red Widow (a remake of Endemol’s Dutch series Penoza) could also work while 666 Park Avenue, starring Lost’s Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams, might fit with its Rosemary’s Baby-esque feel.