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Sky Drama ‘Riviera’ Finds U.S. Home in Ovation (EXCLUSIVE)

U.S. cable net Ovation has picked up “Riviera,” the Julia Stiles series that launched on Sky in the U.K. The ten part series follows an art curator (Stiles) trying to get to the bottom of her husband’s death. It had mixed reviews in the U.K., but clicked with viewers and proved to be Sky’s best performing original series yet.

Ovation, which is carried in about 55 million U.S. homes, bagged “Riviera,” as well as several other shows from Sky Vision, the program sales arm of Sky.

Other titles in the package include drama-documentary “Elizabeth and Her Enemies,” in which model Lily Cole plays Elizabeth I, and “Master of Photography,” the Sky Arts reality competition series.

The deal also spans other factual series including “The Art Show,” and TV3 Ireland’s “Whiskey Business,” about two brothers who want to continue the family tradition of distilling whiskey.

For arts and culture channel Ovation, the deal for “Riviera” marks another move into international drama after it took “Versailles” into the U.S.

“We have had a lot of success with international drama series and ‘Riviera,’ being a story ensconced in the world of art, is right in our wheelhouse,” said Scott Woodward, EVP, programming, Ovation. “The documentaries are also top-notch and firmly in the realm of art and culture.”

The deal covers linear and digital rights, meaning Ovation will carry the Sky programming on its recently-launched app.

Woodward told Variety that the next step for the cable net is original drama. It is scouting for projects at the moment and wants to put its first original into production next year, for transmission in 2019, he said.

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