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U.K. Pay-TV Company Sky to Offer 80 Original Series in 2020, Up 25% on 2019

Pay-TV operator Sky will offer 80 original series to its British subscribers this year, an increase of 25% year-on-year from last year, together with a 40% boost in the volume of programming from the U.S., it announced Wednesday. It also unveiled 10 new shows it has ordered.

Sky revealed its plans at a showcase event at London’s Tate Modern art gallery, where it shared exclusive previews of new shows due to air this year, with more than 25 talent on stage including David Schwimmer, Steve Coogan, Maisie Williams, Billie Piper, Nick Mohammed, Dynamo and Rob Brydon.

As well as its original and acquired shows, Sky is delivering aggregated content from its partnerships with Netflix, BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5. It is also launching new channels like Sky Comedy, Sky Nature and Sky Documentaries.

Sky Group CEO, Jeremy Darroch, said: “In an increasingly competitive market, we keep pushing to give our customers what they want, all the best TV, all in one place.”

Sky’s managing director of content, Zai Bennett, said: “In a world where there are more hours of content than ever, we want to make sure that we’re offering our customers the most high-end, engaging TV that quite simply blows them away. We’re creating and investing in our own world-class original content that sits perfectly alongside the best from the U.S. This year we’ll be making more of our customers’ favorite shows than ever before.”

Sky has committed to more than doubling its investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios, as well as the proposed development of Sky Studios Elstree, a new 32-acre, state-of-the-art TV and film studio in North London.

Among the raft of new original programming announced Wednesday are:

– “The Tail of the Curious Mouse” (w/t), a story about Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, starring Dawn French (“Absolutely Fabulous,” “The Vicar of Dibley”).

– “Bloods,” a paramedic comedy, starring Samson Kayo (“Famalam,” “Timewasters”) and Jane Horrocks (“Little Voice,” “Absolutely Fabulous”).

– “Safe Space,” a comedy pilot written by and starring Greg Davies as a demotivated small-time psychotherapist.

– “Redknapps’ Weekend Warm Up” (w/t), a new entertainment series with father and son soccer duo Harry and Jamie Redknapp teaming up for their first TV project together alongside comedian Tom Davis.

– “Brassic,” the hit comedy drama co-created by Joseph Gilgun and BAFTA-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst is confirmed for a third season ahead of the second airing in May this year, starring Joseph Gilgun, Michelle Keegan and Damien Molony.

– “Intelligence,” the GCHQ comedy created by and starring Nick Mohammed, alongside David Schwimmer, is confirmed for a second instalment ahead of the first season airing next week.

– “Urban Myths,” the International Emmy award-nominated series returns for a fourth outing with stars including Steve Pemberton, Robbie Coltrane, Kara Tointon and Katherine Ryan.

– “Cobra,” the political drama, starring Robert Carlyle and Victoria Hamilton returns for a second season after becoming one of Sky One’s most successful drama series in recent years, with a launch audience of 2.2 million, as well as being one of Sky’s most rapidly binged boxsets.

– “Sweetpea,” a new dark comic drama written by BAFTA Breakthrough screenwriter Kirstie Swain and adapted from the novel “Sweetpea” by C. J. Skuse.

– “You” (w/t), a new drama written by Ben Chanan (“The Missing,” “Last Kingdom”) and based on the novel “YOU” by Zoran Drvenkar.

Other Sky original series that are already due to air on Sky in 2020 include “The Third Day” (Jude Law, Naomie Harris), “I Hate Suzie” (Billie Piper), “Save Me Too” (Lennie James, Suranne Jones, Lesley Manville), “Breeders” (Martin Freeman, Daisy Haggard), and “The Trip to Greece” (Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon).

Key acquired shows for this year include “The Plot Against America” (starring Winona Ryder), “The Undoing” (starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman), “Run” (written by Vicky Jones and exec produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” (starring Natalie Dormer), and the award-winning “Succession” (starring Brian Cox).

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