Participant Media’s Pivot, Sky Vision Ink

Thriller stars Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston, Sofie Grabol, Richard Dormer

LONDON — Sky Vision, the international distribution arm of BSkyB, has inked an exclusive U.S. co-production alliance with Pivot, Participant Media’s television network, with the debut of the Sky Atlantic drama “Fortitude.” Pivot will be the exclusive U.S. television home for the series, scheduled to transmit next year.

The series will star Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games”), Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter”), Christopher Eccleston (“Thor: The Dark World”), Sofie Grabol (“The Killing”), Richard Dormer (“Game of Thrones”), Jessica Raine (“The Woman In Black”), Luke Treadaway (“Clash of the Titans”), Nicholas Pinnock (“Top Boy”) and Johnny Harris (“This is England”). It is filmed in Iceland and the U.K.

“Fortitude” was commissioned by Anne Mensah, head of drama at BSkyB, for Sky Atlantic, and was produced by Fifty Fathoms Productions, which sits under the umbrella of Tiger Aspect and Endemol. Simon Donald (“Low Winter Sun”) created the series, which is executive produced by Patrick Spence (“Five Minutes of Heaven”), Frith Tiplady (“Peaky Blinders”) and Andrew Woodhead (“Spooks”).

“Fortitude” was commissioned for Sky Atlantic as part of the company’s drive to bring more high-quality, exclusive programming to its subscribers. Sky is committed to invest £600 million ($1.01 billion) a year in home-grown programming by 2014, an increase of 50% over three years.

Pivot president, Evan Shapiro, said: “We are pleased to join forces with Sky Vision and Fifty Fathoms in bringing this enormously thrilling series to U.S. audiences. A thriller with an eco-twist, ‘Fortitude’ is storytelling at its finest with some of the industry’s best writers, producers and talent at the helm making it the perfect first dramatic series for Pivot.”

Patrick Spence, managing director, Fifty Fathoms, said: “We love the way Pivot connected with the show we are making, and have huge respect for the track record of their team. We are jumping for joy about this relationship and hope to make it long lasting.”

Jane Millichip, managing director of Sky Vision, added: “Pivot’s commitment to ‘Fortitude,’ both in marketing and scheduling terms is impressive, and we are thrilled to welcome them on board. This series from Fifty Fathoms exudes quality and scale, and — importantly for the international market — it is produced in volume, a rare commodity in British drama. This further underlines our commitment to bringing great Sky content to a wider global audience.”

The series is set in Fortitude, one of the safest towns on earth. Although surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape, there has never been a violent crime there, until now.

The show centers on the town’s sheriff (Dormer), who investigates the brutal murder of a British research scientist. He is forced to work alongside a detective from London (Tucci). As the search for the killer proceeds and the list of suspects grows, each cop finds reasons to mistrust the other.

Grabol plays the town’s governor, for whom the murder is a catastrophe as it threatens her plans to transform Fortitude from a mining town into a site for high-end tourism. Gambon plays a wildlife photographer, who only has weeks left to live. For him, the murder is the catalyst to unearthing Fortitude’s darkest secret.

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