FX documentary “Framing Britney Spears” is finally getting a U.K. release.
Comcast-backed pay-TV operator Sky has snapped up rights for the hit documentary, which aired earlier this month Stateside on the cabler and Hulu. The doc will debut on the Sky Documentaries channel as well as SVOD service Now TV on Feb. 16 at 9pm.
The acquisition is a coup for Sky, as it would have made sense for the documentary — given FX’s Disney ownership — to land on Disney Plus in international markets like the U.K. However, the only home that would have made sense for the doc is the forthcoming, adult-oriented Star tile, which launches in European markets only on Feb. 23. Considering the strong demand among U.K. audiences to watch the film, it’s likely the timings would have worked against a Star debut.
The film examines the meteoric rise of the pop singer in the 1990s, through to her highly publicized breakdown in 2007. The focus is ultimately her court-mandated conservatorship, overseen by her father, Jamie Spears, which allows him to control her finances and other aspects of her life. The most recent chapter of the ensuing court battle saw a probate judge overrule Jamie Spears’ objections to an order establishing Bessemer Trust Co. as a co-conservator of his daughter’s estate.
Increased exposure on the singer’s legal woes has mobilized Spears’ global fandom and also raised questions about the mental health of those in the public eye. In the wake of the doc, singer Justin Timberlake — a fellow Mickey Mouse Club member who dated the pop star early in their careers — issued an apology to both Spears and Janet Jackson. The latter apology centred on the pair’s 2004 Superbowl performance, where Timberlake pulled back part of Jackson’s outfit and exposed her breast, causing mass public outcry and an aggressive investigation by the Federal Communication Commission.
“I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” said Timberlake.
Spears herself spoke up last week on social media, posting footage of a 2018 performance of her song “Toxic,” and noting, “Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories !!!! We all have so many different bright beautiful lives !!! Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens !!!!”
“Framing Britney Spears” is produced by The New York Times and Left/Right. International sales are handled by Red Arrow Studios International. Samantha Stark directs and Liz Day is the senior story editor. Jason Stallman, Sam Dolnick, Stephanie Preiss from The New York Times, and Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver and Mary Robertson from Left/Right all serve as executive producers.
Nicki McDermott acquired the title for Sky. The deal was brokered by Shirley Bowers, VP sales and acquisitions for U.K., North America, Australia and New Zealand at Red Arrow Studios International.