The three-year pact covers all new FX scripted series coming down the pike, and it extends to some of this year’s buzzy newcomers such as “Pose” and the “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff “Mayans M.C.” High-wattage projects coming to the Beeb under the deal include the Cate Blanchett starrer “Mrs. America,” unveiled Tuesday, and the untitled limited series biopic about stage legends Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams.
The alignment with the BBC in a key market like the U.K. is a surprise given Disney’s ambition to build its own global streaming platform stocked with shows from FX Networks and the other 21st Century Fox assets that Disney is set to take possession of early next year. But the FX-BBC pact, orchestrated by Fox’s Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution international sales unit, has been in the works for some time, reflecting the complexity of such deals. The agreement does give BBC streaming rights to the content for its iPlayer service. FX Networks recently set a similar output-style deal with Foxtel in Australia.
Disney likely calculated that rather than table the BBC deal, it would be better FX Networks to collect what is sure to be premium licensing revenue for another three years while it builds out its global streaming infrastructure. Disney’s focus for next year has been on the launch next year of its Disney-branded service while FX content is expected to feed a more adult-oriented separate offering that is probably farther away from launch.
“The BBC has a proud tradition of bringing audiences the very best shows from around the world, and this exciting new partnership with FX builds on our strong existing relationship,” said Charlotte Moore, director of content for BBC. “Their incredible range of first class drama and comedy series will be great for our channels and I’m delighted to be forging closer ties with FX and to formalize our relationship in this bold and exciting move.”
BBC channels have carried a range of FX series in the past, from “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” to “Atlanta,” “Snowfall” and “Feud: Bette and Joan.” The TV giants are also co-production partners on the Tom Hardy drama series “Taboo.”
“At FX, as with the BBC, we are dedicated to curating a portfolio of the best programs television has to offer and working with producers who tell stories that not only entertain, but illuminate the human condition,” said Eric Schrier, president of original series at FX Networks and FX Productions. “We are grateful to the BBC for their recognition of the quality of FX programs and to our colleagues at TCFTVD for their support.”
Added Gina Brogi, president of TCFTVD: “The BBC has been an incredible partner for us at FX Networks and TCFTVD and this new deal only strengthens our longstanding relationship as we look to bring quality programming to audiences in the UK.”