BBC America Covers All Bases


Part of a significant increase in its programming budget, BBC America will roll out a half-dozen co-productions and acquisitions across a number of genres, including telefilms, miniseries, comedies and dramas, over the balance of 2005 and into 2006.

With the network’s programming budget expected to double over the next two years, general manager Kathryn Mitchell said BBC America will gauge audience reaction to these various entries, then decide to focus more on particular genres or to maintain a wide programming swath.

Working with BBC Drama, BBC America will present six one-hour installments of Viva Blackpool, a love story, thriller and musical all rolled into one against the faded glamour of Britain’s most famous seaside town. The show bows Stateside in the fourth quarter.

BBC America will present the show -- which has already won a pair of Banff Awards -- at next month’s Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.

The Robinsons follows an ordinary and successful family that lives in Wimbledon, save for Ed (Martin Freeman of The Office). Plans call for this co-production with the British Broadcasting Corp. to bow here during the fourth quarter.

The network’s second TCA presentation is an acquisition. Bodies is an uncompromising hospital drama, which executives are dubbing The Shield of hospital dramas. It is also slated to premiere in the United States in the fourth quarter.

Also on the acquisition side is Teachers, BBC America’s Boston Public, which follows the lives, loves and timetables of a group of hapless educators. This Tiger Aspect production will premiere here in the third quarter.