LONDON — European pay TV giant Sky is to launch “Fortitude,” its highly anticipated new drama, on Jan. 29 to 20 million customers in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. The series is the first Sky original program to premiere simultaneously across all five markets since Sky created Europe’s leading entertainment company late last year.
In addition to its launch on Sky, “Fortitude” will premiere on the same day to 47 million U.S. households through co-production partner Pivot TV, part of Participant Media.
Over the coming weeks, “Fortitude” will also air in primetime slots across more major networks around the world, including Superchannel in Canada, ABC in Australia, Canal Plus in France, SVT in Sweden, TV2 in Denmark, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland, RUV in Iceland, VRT in Belgium, Ale Kino+ in Poland, Sky in New Zealand, YES in Israel and OTE in Greece. With advance sales to 13 international broadcasters, “Fortitude” is now the most successful show to date for Sky’s international distribution arm, Sky Vision.
“Fortitude” tells the story of a close-knit Arctic community that starts to unravel when a mysterious death threatens the town. Created and written by Simon Donald (“Low Winter Sun”), it stars Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Sofie Grabol.
Media outlets have been building anticipation for the show, which the London Times newspaper described as “one of the most anticipated TV shows of 2015.” Radio Times said it is “an Arctic chiller which is as addictive as it is original and unsettling,” and the Guardian newspaper commented: “Very few upcoming shows can match ‘Fortitude’ for sheer potential.”
Other major new dramas commissioned by Sky airing this year include “The Last Panthers,” a crime drama starring Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim and John Hurt; “Critical,” a medical drama from “Line of Duty” writer Jed Mercurio; “Enfield Haunting,” starring Timothy Spall, Matthew MacFadyen and Juliet Stevenson; and Raymond Briggs’ much-loved classic “Fungus the Bogeyman.” There are also returning hits including gothic horror “Penny Dreadful” and action series “Strike Back.”
Stuart Murphy, director of entertainment at Sky, commented: “’Fortitude’ is truly cinematic drama with a scale that sets it apart. The cast and editorial ambition show what we can do when we give world-class talent the space to create game changing drama. Launching simultaneously to 20 million customers demonstrates Sky’s increased reach across Europe, while record sales around the world mean an even bigger impact and greater returns. The fantastic reaction to ‘Fortitude’ highlights the growing opportunity for us to create even more high-quality drama for international audiences in the future.”