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SCI FI kidnaps Smallville

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 17:00

Highly anticipated new American series V, Eastwick and Human Target, as well as cult hit Smallville, have been acquired for SCI FI and the Hallmark Channel in the UK.

NBC Universal Global Networks and Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD) have announced a major first-run programming deal in which three of WBITD’s highly anticipated new American television series for the 2009–2010 season will premiere in the UK on the SCI FI and Hallmark channels. The announcement was made by Roma Khanna, President, Global Networks and Digital Initiatives and Jeffrey R Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros International Television.

As part of the deal, NBCU has successfully acquired V, one of the most high profile and sought-after programmes from this year’s LA Screenings, along with Human Target and Eastwick.

In addition to these three new shows, NBCU has also acquired the rights to the long-running hit drama Smallville.

The substantial content package consists of the UK first-run pay TV rights to:

  • V – An 18 episode one-hour series, re-imagining of the groundbreaking alien invasion miniseries;
  • Human Target – The 13 one-hour action-packed series stars Mark Valley (Fringe, Boston Legal, Keen Eddie) as a mysterious agent for hire who assumes different identities, literally becoming a human target on behalf of his clients, in this drama inspired by a popular DC Comics title, which was previously attempted many years ago with rocker Rick Springfield in the title role;
  • Eastwick – A 13 one-hour episode comedic drama about three young witches whose powers are awakened when a mysterious man moves to town, based upon the John Updike novel and hit film “The Witches of Eastwick”.

In addition, the broadcaster has secured the ongoing pay TV rights from season one of Smallville, the drama series – again based upon DC Comics characters – which chronicles a young Clark Kent in a precursor to the Superman legend.

The deal will see V, Human Target and Smallville air on SCI FI, while Eastwick will be shown on the Hallmark Channel.

Laurence Dawkin-Jones, Managing Director (UK) of NBC Universal Global Networks, said: “This important deal is evidence of a step change in our investment in new content.  These are some of the most talked about shows to come out of the LA Screenings this year and are a perfect fit with our channels.”

Jeffrey R Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros International Television, said: “This deal is significant not only because we are licensing three of our new shows to one client, but also because it is a basic multi-channel operator that has stepped up to outbid all of the free terrestrial networks to acquire the first-window rights to these three high-profile programmes. This is a bold move for NBCU, and we are pleased to support their initiative. This deal is completely in alignment with our strategy of encouraging pay, basic and free digital broadcasters to make significant investments to acquire new series programming in order to make their channels distinctive and compelling. We are convinced these shows are perfectly suited to the genre of these channels and, when initially telecast, will build a loyal fanbase.”

Roma Khanna, President, Global Networks and Digital Initiatives, added: “This fantastic deal is another step forward in our global strategy of offering audiences premiere first run content across our portfolio of global channels. We are delighted to be working with Warner Bros. to deliver top content via our world class channel brands both here in the UK and around the world.”

NBC Universal Global Networks has enjoyed considerable success across its UK channels in 2009 showcasing a raft of new-to-the UK series including Dollhouse, Knight Rider, Eli Stone, Legend of the Seeker and Warehouse 13 on SCI FI, whilst launching the channel on Sky’s HD service. The Hallmark Channel, which recently jumped 20 places up Sky’s EPG to channel 130, commands one of the most loyal audiences in the UK market, with viewers enjoying 76 minutes per day* of UK premiere seasons of shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

SCI FI is available on Sky channel 129 (SCI FI HD 214) and Virgin 136. Hallmark Channel is available on Sky channel 130 and Virgin 162.


*Source: BARB/TRP Jan-Jul 2009

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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