After testing the waters for an U.S. version of Torchwood, which was in the works at Fox for a while, BBC Worldwide Prods. is teaming with Starz to co-produce the next installment of the original BBC series, which will run in the U.S. on Starz. The arrangement also fits into Starz’s business model of doing most of its series as international co-productions.
LOS ANGELES, June 7 — Starz Entertainment has acquired U.S. TV rights to the next installment of the BBC’s audience sensation “Torchwood,” developed and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Starz will debut the 10-episode series exclusively in the U.S., and BBC One will debut it in the U.K., both in summer, 2011. This is a co-production between Starz, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide, and BBC Worldwide will distribute the show outside the U.S. The deal was jointly announced today by Starz, LLC President and CEO Chris Albrecht and BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter.
The stars of the previous versions of “Torchwood,” notably John Barrowman (Capt. Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), will return for the new version. Additional key cast, reflecting the more international scope of the series, will be announced soon.
“Torchwood” is a drama that puts extraterrestrial threats into a very real world, and asks how humanity deals with the danger – while fighting mankind’s darkest instincts. The series’ previous three seasons aired on BBC America in the U.S. and garnered record-breaking ratings for the network. Created by visionary writer/producer Russell T Davies, “Torchwood” has to date been located primarily in Cardiff, Wales. The new series will allow Davies and his writing team to tell a more explosive and global story, one that takes advantage of the unlimited narrative opportunities of a premium television service like Starz.
Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions’ SVP Scripted Julie Gardner return as executive producers, with Davies also serving as show-runner for the new “Torchwood.”
“We’re committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for ‘Torchwood’ fits that mandate,” Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht said.
“‘Torchwood’ has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and U.S., and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive installment yet,” said Jane Tranter, EVP, BBC Worldwide Productions.
On Starz, “Torchwood” joins epic “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” this summer’s highly anticipated event series “The Pillars of the Earth,” based on author Ken Follett’s international bestseller, and the recently announced series “Camelot,” which Starz is co-producing with GK-TV and will air early in 2011.
“Torchwood” originally debuted in the UK on BBC One in 2006. All five episodes of “Torchwood: Children of Earth” reached the Top 10 list in TV Episodes across the entire iTunes TV Store, with episode 1 of the series reaching the top spot the week of launch in August, 2009.