BBC America announced this morning it had picked up a six part ’70s-set espionage thriller The Game from Toby Whithouse. Brian Cox stars in the project which is set to debut in the fall BBCA GM Perry Simon announced. Simon noted the network had its best year ever, ratings wise, including its best fourth quarter ever, its best December ever and its best Christmas ever with the Doctor Who special. “This Jew finally believes in Santa Claus,” he joked.
Simon also announced 24 Hours on Earth will premiere Tuesday March 11 at 9 PM as part of the network’s new BBC Earth programming block on Tuesday evenings. The production is a second-by-second virtual day and shows how animals and plants exploit specific moments in the 24-hour cycle. Simon told TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2014 “how personally excited I am to begin migrating this programing over to BBC America. I really think this content can be transformative for our channel.”
Last October, Discovery issued an email letting the media know it has ended its programming partnership with BBC – a relationship that’s produced some of Discovery’s most acclaimed natural history telecasts. “Discovery and the BBC today announced that their longstanding partnership is coming to an end, by mutual agreement,” a statement said, taking a page out of the Kardashian playbook. It was the same old story: they’d grown apart — BBC focusing on blue-chip shows along the lines of Life, and Frozen Planet, Discovery looking for more character-driven reality series: Gold Rush, Gold Fever, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Naked And Afraid. Maybe even more important, in the years since the relationship began, Discovery had launched channels in international markets where, per terms of its deal, it did not have distribution rights on BBC programs. Discovery will now go it alone, without BBC by its side, like it did on the seven-part Tom Selleck-narrated natural history series North America it debuted last May. With its international becoming such a big part of its business, having content for all of its global channels became a major imperative.
Additionally BBCA has cast John Simm (Dr. Who) in its upcoming paranormal drama The Intruders. Simm will play Jack Whelan, a Los Angeles cop turned writer whose wife disappears.The casting marks Simm’s return to BBC AMERICA where he starred in hit series Life on Mars, State of Play and Doctor Who. Simm stars as Jack Whelan, a Los Angeles cop turned writer who has escaped a dark, violent past for a seemingly quiet life with his wife, Amy. When Amy goes missing, Jack is plunged into an investigation that forces him to confront the sins of his past and reexamine the very foundations he’s built his life upon.