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SYDNEY — Australia’s highest-rated TV drama series, “Blue Heelers,” has been sold to the U.S., where it will air each afternoon on satellite and cable channel Trio, launching in September.

Trio VP Kristine Layfield, who bought 40 episodes of the rural cop show, says it fits with the channel’s mandate to provide quality English-language dramas and will be counterprogrammed against the U.S. soaps.

Produced by Southern Star and aired on Australia’s Seven network, “Blue Heelers” has been sold to 85 countries. Catherine Payne, deputy head of Southern Star’s Worldwide TV Distribution, acknowledges that breaking into the U.S. with adult drama series is “extremely tough,” and hails the deal with Trio as “real progress.”