BBC AMERICA has been making some news out at this year’s Television Critics Association event: they have officially announced the long-awaited renewals for Broadchurch (for a second season) and Orphan Black (for its third), both set to premiere in 2015. Plus, they’ve put two new series into production—The Last Kingdom, a historical drama series adapted from Bernard Cornwell‘s Saxon Stories franchise, from the makers of Downton Abbey; and Tatau, a drama-adventure series set in the Cook Islands. Here’s the full release for your perusal.
BBC AMERICA’s General Manager, Perry Simon, made the following announcements today during the channel’s presentation for the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills.Acclaimed series Orphan Black and Broadchurch will return with new seasons in 2015 and the channel has two new dramas going into production – Tatau, from the producers of Being Human, and The Last Kingdom, from the producers of Downton Abbey.
RETURNING SERIES ANNOUNCED:
Orphan Black – Season Three Premieres 2015
BBC AMERICA has renewed award-winning original series Orphan Black for a third season. The drama starring Tatiana Maslany has been re-commissioned for a 10-episode order from Temple Street Productions. Orphan Black became the first ever ad-supported drama series to double its ratings from season one to season two in A25-54 and 18-49 in Live+7.* The season two finale earned series highs in Live+7 among total viewers (1.376 million).
Audience and social media highlights:
- The Live+3 lift from Live+SD for the Orphan Black season two premiere still ranks #1 among all TV drama season premieres thus far in the 2013/14 TV season.
- Orphan Black season two is BBC AMERICA’s second best series ever in A25-54 in Live+3, C3, and Live+7, just behind Doctor Who season seven.
- Orphan Black season two episodes 6-9 reached #1 and episodes1-5 reached #2 on iTunes overall TV episodes chart within 24 hours of their premieres.
- Orphan Black was the #1 television show on Twitter and Tumblr for the day of premiere and was the #1 ad-supported cable drama on Twitter for the week.
- BBC AMERICA is the first network to live-tweet a TV show with animated GIFs. @OrphanBlack shared animated GIFs timed to the season finale.
- #3 on Twitter among ad-supported cable dramas on average during its run and seven times the activity from season one to season two.
- The Orphan Black Tumblr has had over 750,000 notes from almost 140K fans in season two and there were 11.3 million notes on the Orphan Black topic in the new season.
The innovative series, co-created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, earned a Peabody Award this year and lead actress Tatiana Maslany has received two back-to-back Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Actress, a TCA Award for Individual Achievement, a Young Hollywood Award, a Gracie Award and Golden Globe® and People’s Choice nominations.
The cast includes Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Skyler Wexler, Kevin Hanchard, Evelyne Brochu, Kristian Bruun, Michael Mando and Matt Frewer. The second season also included actors Michiel Huisman, Ari Millen, Peter Outerbridge, Patrick J. Adams and Michelle Forbes.
Orphan Black is BBC AMERICA’s second original drama commission. The series is produced by Temple Street Productions in association with BBC AMERICA and SPACE. Executive producers are Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier on behalf of Temple Street Productions, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett. Orphan Black is distributed by BBC Worldwide.
Broadchurch – Season Two Premieres 2015
The multiple award-winning series Broadchurch will return for a second season as part of BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville. The gripping drama, produced by Kudos and Imaginary Friends Productions, written and created by Chris Chibnall, garnered critical acclaim, sparked widespread discussion on social media and earned a Peabody Award following its premiere in the US last year on BBC AMERICA. With an ensemble cast lead by David Tennant and Olivia Colman, the first season centered on a quiet seaside town following the shocking murder of a young boy and the impact it had on the tight-knit community when everyone becomes a suspect. David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Arthur Darvill will reprise their roles. Legendary actress Charlotte Rampling, Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James D’Arcy, Eve Myles and Phoebe Waller-Bridge join the cast for the second season.
Broadchurch is executive produced by Jane Featherstone (Utopia, The Hour, Spooks) on behalf of Kudos, a Shine Group company, and Chris Chibnall (The Great Train Robbery, Torchwood) for Imaginary Friends. The producer is Richard Stokes (Silk, Law & Order: UK), who also produced the first season. James Strong, who directed five episodes of the first season including episode one, will be directing episodes one and two of the new season. Broadchurch is distributed by Shine International. The series is currently in production in Dorset and North Somerset, England.
NEW SERIES ANNOUNCED:
Tatau – New Drama Series
BBC AMERICA will co-produce new drama adventure series, Tatau, from the makers of Being Human and set in the Cook Islands, a paradise in the middle of the Pacific. The (8×60) series is written by Richard Zajdlic and co-produced by Touchpaper TV (Being Human) and South Pacific Pictures for BBC Three in association with BBC AMERICA.
The drama follows, Kyle Connor and Pete ‘Budgie’ Griffiths, two twenty-something friends from London that set off to travel the world. They’ve worked hard, saved even harder and they’re now eager to soak up as many different cultures and experiences as possible. Ahead of the journey, Kyle gets a Maori-style tattoo to celebrate their eventual destination: the Cook Islands. But upon his arrival in the South Pacific, Kyle is unsettled by the local people’s reaction to his tattoo – it clearly has a significance that he is entirely unaware of. Later, while snorkeling in a lagoon, Kyle discovers the dead body of a local girl, Aumea, tied up underwater. When he returns with the police, the corpse has disappeared. Budgie questions if his friend is going mad, but Kyle begins to believe that he has instead seen into the future. Kyle and Budgie find themselves sucked into a desperate race to prevent Aumea’s murder, as Kyle learns that his gifts don’t stop at prophecy… and the full meaning of the tattoo is soon revealed. Tatau is an ambitious drama that explores the questions of identity, love and destiny.
Richard Zajdlic, creator and writer, and Rob Pursey are the executive producers for Touchpaper TV, John Barnett and Chris Bailey for South Pacific in New Zealand and Matthew Read for the BBC. Touchpaper TV is a Zodiak Media Company. Tatau is distributed by BBC Worldwide. Filming starts in September 2014 and casting will be announced.
The Last Kingdom – New Drama Series
BBC AMERICA, Carnival Films – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning producers of Downton Abbey – and BBC Two announced earlier today that production will begin this fall on The Last Kingdom, a new historical (8 x 60) drama series.
BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, (Good Cop, Five Daughters, House of Saddam), will adapt Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling franchise “The Saxon Stories” for the screen. Cornwell is also known for his much-loved “Sharpe” novels that became the long-running TV series of the same name starring Sean Bean and aired on BBC AMERICA.
Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great.
The Last Kingdom, made by Carnival Films, is a show full of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity. Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home.
Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Stephen Butchard will serve as Executive Producers with Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation), co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes and Chrissy Skinns (Mr Selfridge, Marchlands), will produce the show. The Commissioning Editor is Polly Hill for the BBC and Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, ordered the show. Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, and Richard De Croce, SVP Programming, will oversee the series for BBC AMERICA. The complete announcement is available on the BBC AMERICA press site.
During BBC AMERICA’s TCA session, the network presented panels for upcoming original series Intruders (Premieres August 23), stylish spy drama The Game (Premieres Fall 2014) and a film about the final days of world renowned poet, Dylan Thomas, A Poet in New York (Premieres Fall 2014).