Sky and FX Networks have announced an agreement to work together to develop brand new post-watershed comedy for audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
The two-year agreement will see Sky and FX Networks co-fund and co-develop new half-hour scripted comedy. If the projects are commissioned, the shows would be broadcast on Sky1 HD or Sky Atlantic HD in the UK and Ireland and FX Networks channels in the US.
The co-development deal builds on Sky and FX Networks’ expertise in creating distinctive, award-winning comedy and will involve the very best on- and off-screen talent from both Britain and the US. The goal is to create new shows that will sit alongside series such as Sky’s A Touch of Cloth and Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters and FX Networks’ Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Home-grown Sky shows that have previously been broadcast on US networks include An Idiot Abroad, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Spy, Moone Boy and Doll and Em.
Lucy Lumsden, Sky’s Head of Comedy, comments: “We’re hugely excited about working with FX Networks to develop distinctive brand new comedy and further strengthen our commitment to original home-grown programming. Partnering with the world’s most renowned broadcasters lets us bring Sky customers something truly special, and we look forward to working with the most talented comedy writers and performers in both Britain and the US.”
Eric Schrier, President of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions, adds: “We are truly excited to partner with Sky and create comedies that will bridge the Atlantic and entertain audiences in both the UK and US. This partnership will open doors for us to discover new comedy talent and develop their stories in this unique foreign exchange program.”
The agreement coincides with Sky launching its biggest ever year of entertainment, featuring brand new comedy and drama from stars including Chris O’Dowd, Nick Frost, Olivia Colman, Emily Mortimer and Dominic Cooper and new shows from the makers of Rev and Spooks. Alongside new series launches, Sky has confirmed that Mount Pleasant, Trollied and the award-winning Stella will all be back for fourth series. The deal also reinforces Sky’s commitment to producing brand new original home-grown content for customers. This year Sky will invest £600 million in original British production across its channels.
Sky began its drive into comedy in 2009 and was swiftly established as a central player in the UK television comedy landscape. Working some of the best talent in the industry and commissioning across Sky’s portfolio of channels, hit comedies number titles as diverse as Moone Boy, Doll & Em, Hunderby, Alan Partridge: Welcome to The Places of My Life, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Spy, Psychobitches and the series of short films, Little Crackers. These comedy commissions have earned a raft of award wins at the International Emmys, the BAFTAs, the RTS Awards, British Comedy Awards, the Rose d’Or Festival and others. Titles set to launch this year include Mr Sloane created by Bob Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and starring Nick Frost which debuts this spring, Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth will return for a third chapter this summer and Matthew Perry stars in Jon Ronson’s The Dog Thrower.
In 2014, FX Networks will air ten original comedy series across two of its three channels, FX and FXX. FX televises the Emmy®, AFI, TCA and Peabody award-winning Louie, which is the most critically-acclaimed comedy on American television, and the acclaimed animated comedies Archer and Chozen. This summer FX will launch two new comedies, Married starring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer, and You’re the Worst starring Aya Cash and Chris Geere. The FXX comedy roster includes the acclaimed hit series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Wilfred, Legit, and Ali G: Rezurection.
FX Networks has been very active in comedy development and production. In addition to the recent series orders of Married and You’re the Worst, FX Networks has seven comedy pilots in various stages of production for either FX or FXX. They include Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll created by and starring Denis Leary; the untitled Zach Galifianakis project created by and starring Galifianakis, and produced by Galifianakis and Louis C.K.; The Comedians, from Larry Charles, Matt Nix, Ben Wexler and Billy Crystal, which stars Billy Crystal and Josh Gad; Do or Die starring Tracy Morgan; How & Why created by Charlie Kaufman and starring Michael Cera and John Hawkes; Man Seeking Woman from Simon Rich; and the animated comedy series Bigfoot from Seth Rogen and produced by Rogen and Adam Reed and Matt Thompson.
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Sky is the UK and Ireland’s leading home entertainment and communications company. Around 40% of all homes have a direct relationship with Sky through its range of TV, broadband and home telephony services.
Sky is the UK’s biggest investor in television content, investing more than £2.5 billion a year in channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky News. Around two-thirds of Sky’s content spend is invested in the UK. More than 30 million people watch Sky content each week.
Alongside its commitment to offering customers a greater choice of high-quality content, Sky is a leading innovator. Customers enjoy total control and flexibility over their favourite TV through Sky+, watch TV on the move through Sky Go, and enjoy the best quality TV experience at home through High Definition and 3D.
Sky distributes its content broadly over several platforms, including satellite, cable, IPTV, mobile and WiFi. NOW TV, Sky’s second consumer brand, builds on the company’s leadership in internet TV. Sky is also the UK's fastest-growing home communications company and favourite ‘triple-play’ provider of TV, broadband and home phone.
Sky believes in making a wider contribution to the communities in which it operates by taking positive action on the environment, supporting grassroots sports and increasing access to, and participation in, the arts. Sky employs 24,000 people, has annual revenues of £7.2 billion and is estimated to support a £5.9 billion contribution to UK GDP. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (BSY).
About FX Networks:
FX Networks, a business unit of 21 Century Fox, is comprised of FX, FXM, and its newest channel, FXX. Launched in June of 1994, FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable channel, which is carried in more than 97 million homes. Its diverse schedule features a growing roster of critically-acclaimed and award-winning hit dramas, including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Americans and The Bridge; the miniseries American Horror Story; and the acclaimed hit comedy series Louie, Archer, Wilfred and Chozen. This year FX will launch the limited drama series Fargo (April 15), starring Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, and it will launch two new drama series, Tyrant (June) and Tyrant (July). Its library of acquired box-office hit movies is unmatched by any commercial television network. FX's roster of acquired hit series includes Two and a Half Men, Anger Management and, coming in 2014, Mike & Molly. FXM (formerly Fox Movie Channel) was launched in October of 1994 and is now carried in more than 49 million homes. Its schedule features classic films during the day, and contemporary box office hits and acclaimed, award-winning films in the evening, as well as short-form award-winning original programming. FXX launched on September 2, 2013 in 72 million homes with a schedule that features original series, movies, and acquired series. The channel is anchored by the acclaimed hit comedies It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Legit, and FXX’s newest comedy, Ali G: Rezurection. Over the next several years, FX, FXX and FXM will undergo an ambitious programming expansion, with the three networks combining to deliver more than 25 original scripted series