WGN America Acquires U.S. Rights to Three Foreign Crime Drama Series

WGN America has acquired the U.S. rights to three foreign crime dramas as part of the network’s new “Prime Crime” lineup, Variety has learned.

Canadian series “Shoot the Messenger” centers on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police. Daisy Channing (Elyse Levesque), a young reporter, witnesses a murder she thinks is gang related, only to find herself slowly drawn into an interconnected web of criminal and illicit sexual activity that reaches into the corridors of corporate and political power. In addition to Levesque, the series stars Lyriq Bent, Lucas Bryant, and Alex Kingston.  It is produced by Jennifer Holness and Victoria Woods for Hungry Eyes Film & Television Inc. in association with CBC Television and ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The eight-episode series is co-created by Holness and Sudz Sutherland, who also serves as lead director on the series.

Fellow Canadian import “Pure” follows Noah Funk, a newly elected Mennonite pastor who is determined to rid his community of the scourge of drugs and its ties to a transborder smuggling alliance with a Mexican drug cartels. The cast includes Ryan Robbins, Alex Paxton-Beesley, A.J. Buckley, and Rosie Perez. Produced by Two East Productions and Cineflix, “Pure” was created and written by Michael Amo and directed by Ken Girotti. Amo and Girotti serve as executive producers along with Brett Burlock, Peter Emerson and David MacLeod. Cineflix Rights has the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to “Pure.”

Finally, the German-Swedish co-production “The 100 Code” takes viewers inside the search for a killer who targets young, blonde and blue-eyed women. Through a special dispensation from the NYPD, Detective Tommy Conley (Dominic Monaghan) is permitted to observe and advise the Stockholm PD. Upon arrival in Sweden, he is paired with Mikael Eklund (Michael Nyqvist) a by-the-book Swedish cop with an aversion to American culture. Developed by Academy Award winner Bobby Moresco, the series is produced by 100 Code AB & Zen Productions in association with Fabrik Entertainment, Red Arrow International and Strix Drama for Kanal 5 and Sky Deutschland. It is distributed worldwide by Red Arrow International and has sold to more than 100 territories including the UK (Sky Atlantic), Italy (Mediaset) and Scandinavia (HBO Nordics).

WGN America also recently acquired the rights to “Bellevue,” a crime drama about the disappearance of a high school hockey star wrestling with his gender identity. It stars Anna Paquin, Allen Leech, and Shawn Doyle

“WGN America continues to deliver one of the best crime lineups in television,” said Gavin Harvey, president of WGN America. “These four new original series build upon our strong slate of compelling programming that offers nonstop mystery, thrills and suspense for the growing number of fans of the crime genre.”

“Pure” and “The 100 Code” are expected to debut in 2018, while “Shoot the Messenger” does not yet have a premiere date. All four scripted series join the network’s stable of crime-focused series “Blue Bloods,” “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” “Bones,” “Law & Order” and “Cops.”

The acquisitions come after WGN America and parent company Tribune Media were sold to Sinclair Broadcasting. Shortly after the sale, interim Tribune CEO Peter Kern signaled a shift away from the original programming strategy that company had pursued for several years with the cancellation of WGN America’s two remaining original series, “Outsiders and “Underground.”

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