Exclusive: ITV Studios set to pick up sales rights to Kew Media hit drama ‘Line Of Duty’

Line Of Duty

ITV Studios (ITVS) is set to pick up distribution rights to Line Of Duty, the hit drama that is currently sold by the sales arm of ailing Canada-based outfit Kew Media Group, TBI understands.

Kew Media Distribution (KMD) has shopped the crime drama worldwide since acquiring rights from Content Media Corp, which was among the seven production companies brought together in the C$104m (US$85m) deal that created the Kew group three years ago.

Kew has been in turmoil, however, over recent months following disappointing third-quarter figures revealed in mid-November and the exit of CFO Geoff Webb for financial irregularities.

It has since stopped trading on the Toronto stock exchange and producers of shows sold by KMD, including hit doc Leaving Neverland, are understood to have been pulling back rights after failing to be paid royalites.

With Kew’s international sales arm now also facing a potential winding-up order, sources have told TBI that ITVS is poised to pick up rights to the crime series, which is produced by World Productions – itself acquired by ITVS in 2017.

Despite that deal, Content Media Corp – which later became Kew – had retained rights to sell the show globally, while ITVS Global Distribution took on sales of all new series from the prodco, including fellow hit Bodyguard, which has been acquired by Netflix.

Line Of Duty, which airs in the UK on BBC One, is into its sixth season and has become a worldwide hit, selling to companies including US streamer Acorn TV.

KMD at one point had a library in excess of 14,000 hours, while the wider group’s producers have been behind shows for streamers and networks around the world. Australia-based Essential Media’s Ghost Loop airs on the Travel Channel in the US, Jigsaw’s Death Row Stories is into its fourth season on CNN and Dirty Money’s second season is set to become available on Netflix.

A group-wide restructuring process at Kew began late last year under interim CFO Michael Corrigan, with numerous companies looking to exit the company, as revealed by TBI.

Last month, The Content Group, part of Steve Michael’s Asylum Entertainment Group, acquired Dance Moms producer Collins Avenue Entertainment from Kew, and investors in Glasgow-based producer Two Rivers Media helped to facilitate its exit from the Canadian company a week earlier.

ITV Studios declined to comment and Kew’s representatives could not be reached prior to press time.