BBC buys U.S. aliens

Fox Intl. sells 'Roswell' in a selective market


CANNES — “Roswell,” the upcoming teen alien drama for the WB netlet, has just been bought by Britain’s BBC.

The deal with foreign distrib Twentieth Century Fox Intl. Television marks the first new U.S. fall show that the British pubcaster has picked up.

The deal was finalized on the eve of the Mipcom TV trade show, which is unspooling this week in Cannes, and was inked by Fox exec VP Marion Edwards and BBC head of acquisitions Sophie Turner-Laing.

Few sales

“Roswell,” like all the new network primetime shows, has been available to foreign TV buyers since June. Very few new U.S. series have been bought so far by the main Euro buyers, however, suggesting just how picky the top foreign broadcasters have become. There simply aren’t many slots available nowadays for American fare on the top terrestrial broadcasters in the key Euro territories.

However, the BBC has had considerable success with a number of Fox-distributed shows in the recent past.

Perfect buyer

Edwards told Daily Variety that the BBC was the ideal customer for the show because it has skedded other Fox shows, including “The X Files” and “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.” “Roswell” will probably air on BBC2 beginning next fall.

No figure for the deal was available, but top U.S. dramas command as much as $125,000 per episode in the U.K. market.

At Mipcom, Fox is selling more new primetime series (11) to foreign broadcasters than any other Hollywood major.

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