‘Primeval' Saved From Extinction

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Primeval, the Saturday-night sci-fi thriller on BBC America, will return in 2011 because of an international co-production deal, companies involved said.

Impossible Pictures Limited, BBC Worldwide and ITV reached an agreement that will deliver 13 new episodes in 2011 of the special-effects laden action show. It is expected to break down to two seasons in the United Kingdom -- a fourth season with seven episodes and a six-episode fifth season, shown on two different UK stations. The Web site digitalspy.com said the shows would debut in the UK in 2011.

The same site reported in June that UK broadcaster ITV had canceled the show after three UK seasons.

Primeval: Courtesy ITV

BBC America gains a full co-production credit on the show for the first time. Original co-production partners ITV of the UK, ProSieben of Germany and BBC Worldwide will return to co-fund the new series, with BBC Worldwide becoming the majority funding partner.

UKTV (parent of the UK digital channel called Watch, which will air new episodes) becomes a first-time investor, as well, the companies said.


In the UK the show, which is shown on ITV1, has reached audiences of more than 5.5 million every week. 

In a release, Jonathan Drake, managing director of Impossible Pictures Ltd. said "the dramatic changes in the business of broadcasting in the last 12 months have meant we have had to completely rethink how we put the funding together for a top-end series like Primeval. The fact that the series is so well established and loved both in the UK and overseas has meant that everyone has been willing to do their best to give us the backing we needed. With the continued enthusiasm of co-producers such as ProSieben and the fantastic support of the team at BBC Worldwide we have stitched together a ground-breaking clutch of deals that will guarantee Primeval's ongoing success."

Richard de Croce, SVP of programming at BBC America, said in the release that Primeval was one of the network's all-time top 10 shows "and we're thrilled to be co-producing the new season. It's an innovative deal securing the future of an innovative show -- and we can't wait to bring it back to U.S. fans."

Scheduling on BBCA was not detailed in the release. The network is expected to wait until the two seasons air in the UK then air them here back to back.

The new series will be show run once again by Adrian Hodges and will feature the return of stars from the previous series, including Hannah Spearritt, Andrew Lee Potts and Jason Flemyng, alongside special effects created by Framestore CFC.

Primeval is one of BBC Worldwide's most successful drama exports and has been sold to more than 45 countries, including Australia, America, Singapore and South Korea.