BSkyB buys rights to HBO's 'The Pacific'

$200 mil 10-part mini-series to air on Sky Movies next year

LONDON -- In a move that showcases its buying power at a time when broadcast networks here languish, pay TV operator BSkyB said Thursday it has picked up U.K. rights to "Band of Brothers" follow-up, "The Pacific," the $200 million10-part mini-series due to air on HBO next spring.

The U.K. satcaster will air the high definition-produced World War II drama on its Sky Movies channel without commercial breaks.

Billed as a "companion piece" to "Brothers" -- which aired on the BBC here -- "The Pacific" is being produced by the same team of Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman.

It follows the lives of three U.S. marines as they take on the Japanese at Guadalcanal and later at Iwo Jima, before returning home in August 1945.

BSkyB managing director of entertainment Sophie Turner Laing said Sky was focused on bring theatrical-style flair to Sky customers.

"At a time when some broadcasters are reducing their on-screen spend, we continue to invest in content which rewards our customers and creates more reasons to join Sky."

The deal underlines Sky's financial muscle at a time when advertising-driven networks here continue to see ad revenues heading south in the region of 15% year-on-year.

The satcaster is using its muscle to clinch a range of shows that expand its appeal to different demographics, such as its recent acquisition of Hugh Laurie-starrer "House," which was won in a bidding war with terrestrial network Five.
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