Where will BBC's American acquisitions live?

Currently, the BBC consists of nine TV channels, dozens of radio stations and numerous online outlets, so it's no wonder the corporation wants to scale down. Criticised in the past for taking on too much, it's now considering cutting its expenditure by dropping international acquisitions, and possibly even some channels. But what does this mean for our favourite American shows?

Well, it's probably safe to assume that shows such as Heroes, Mad Men and Flight of the Conchords, if dropped, will be picked up by other broadcasters because of their popularity. And, although it's a concern that they may no longer be viewable on freeview, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking the move is somewhat of a blessing. Other networks are much quicker at bringing US shows to our shores. Far too often do we see shows such as Flight of the Conchords and Harper's Island broadcast late at night, with little advertising – not the mention Seinfeld's long-running residence in the doldrums of the BBC2 early morning schedules. It's a bit insulting, really.

Strangely, whilst announcing these changes yesterday, Sir Michael Lyon, the chairman of BBC Trust, coined its competitor BSkyB as a good home for the shows it may soon axe. He admitted the broadcaster was in a good financial position and that it, along with online company Google, was "performing strongly" in the current climate. There are other broadcasters faring well at the moment too, here are the ones we think are best placed to buy BBC's cast-offs…

As mentioned above; the network is in a good financial position and that's always a good place to start. This is especially true for Sky, which is well-known for flashing its cash at hit shows airing elsewhere, such as House and Lost. We reckon Heroes could live quite happily here—but how will that make the millions of people not currently lining Murdoch’s pockets feel?

An insider at this digital broadcaster recently told us that they're tying up secret deals for lots of new US programmes -- some of which they're pinching from other channels. The shows, the names of which will be revealed in 2010, will join Chuck and Sons of Anarchy on the already American-heavy schedule of Virgin1 and Bravo. Perhaps they're already planning to take some of the BBC's acquisitions off their hands?

It's been airing CSI and its spin-offs for a while now but has only recently come into its own in terms of American programming. This year it brought us the British premiere of The Mentalist and it's set to show the new highly-anticipated series, Flash Forward, in the coming weeks. Its sister channel, Fiver, is also making its way onto the radar having recently acquired 10 Things I Hate About You, Bridezillas and the terrestrial debuts of The City and Knight Rider. The network also operates Five USA, a network entirely devoted to US imports, regularly showing House, Numb3rs, all the CSI you could possibly want, and more. Could Five be the new terrestrial king for US shows?

It shouldn't be overlooked that, despite airing alongside Katie Price or Peter Andre's never-ending reality shows, US hits such as Gossip Girl, Entourage, and Life are broadcast on ITV2. The channel is suffering from severe financial losses but that hasn't stopped it recently acquiring The Vampire Diaries, which will air at the beginning of next year. Probably not the safest bet, financially, but you never know.

Most likely to buy comedy or teen drama, E4 has a large back catalogue of US shows which most recently include How I Met Your Mother and RuPaul's Drag Race. More4 meanwhile, has recently acquired the UK rights to Hung, while Channel 4 will be airing the terrestrial debuts of True Blood and Generation Kill. Within the range of channels here, there's a good chance that something might get picked up. HBO's Flight of the Conchords, if renewed for a third series, would be a great addition to the comedy catalogue.

Another possible bidder for the Flight of the Conchords is FX, notoriously known for buying shows from American channel HBO. It's showed The Wire, a long time before it made the cop show made it onto the BBC, and most of its schedule is already dominated by US imports.

Comments (4)
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Mar 03, 2010
Flight of the Conchords wasn't cancelled until December, so after this article was written. You're right about Heroes though - surely it can't survive much longer with storylines like that!?
Nov 09, 2009
Hang on a second! Flight of the Conchords is over so there won't be any bidding on it at all. Secondly, Heroes is mediocre at best at the moment so I don't think Sky could care less about it. But the love of God will some decent channel buy Castle? It's TV gold!
Sep 11, 2009
BBC are a joke, new Heroes wont be shown until Jan 10. Thats like 4 months behind the US. Five is the best channel to watch nowadays if you want to watch the more popular US dramas. Wish FX was a freeview channel they have all the best shows from HBO, Showtime and AMC. Mad Men will probably go to FX and Damages as well.
Sep 10, 2009
lol, if the bbc wants to drop US programmes then nobody will watch there channels. It has been great seeing heroes without any ads but the sci fi channel did broadcast the first season before. So as long as our fav US programmes show, it won't bother me. Also if they go ahead they should get rid of the licence fee completely........