Playing the US acquisitions game is a risky business. So easy is it for a show to end up the scrap heap just two or three episodes into its life that buying a show before it’s had time to find an audience can mean it may not be around by the time you manage to place it in your schedule.
UK networks Sky1 (Last Resort) and ITV2 (666 Park Avenue) have already seen some of their new purchases from the US fall season fall by the wayside. Neither series will be on air beyond their initial 13-episode orders from ABC.
However, find the right show and it could become an anchor for your primetime schedule for years to come. Just look at the success of Desperate Housewives, Lost, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends…
UKTV, the multi-channel broadcaster owned by BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive, now hopes it has found a gem of its own.
As part of a new deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, it has picked up US network NBC’s midseason drama Do No Harm to air on its own Watch.
This show places a new twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, featuring a talented neurosurgeon who has a destructive alter ego.
Do No Harm will debut on NBC at the end of January 2013, meaning UKTV is buying the series without any hint of its popularity (and possible longevity) stateside.
UKTV’s deal with NBCU also includes future seasons of fairytale-inspired detective series Grimm, also on Watch, and new seasons of legal drama Suits for its comedy channel Dave.
The first season of Grimm has proven to be a success, drawing just under one million viewers per episode. Other US imports on Watch include Covert Affairs and Perception.
It also signed up crime drama Alcatraz last November, although this was cancelled by Fox in the US earlier this year after just 13 episodes.