'FlashForward' among U.K. acquisitions for fall

Joseph Fiennes, Jack Davenport star in ABC drama

Brit TV buyers have begun snapping up some of the high-profile Yanks series debuting in the fall in the U.S., some two months after their first look at the shows during the Los Angeles Screenings.

Five has just picked up "FlashForward," a new drama starring British actors Joseph Fiennes and Jack Davenport, from Disney-ABC-ESPN Television.

While neither buyer nor seller would comment on the price paid to license the series, it is reckoned to be between $500,000 and $600,000 an episode -- considerably lower than the eyebrow-raising sums paid several years ago for other top Disney product, including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." Still, the aforementioned range is a very healthy amount in these recessionary times.

The 13-episode drama will debut in primetime in the U.S. on ABC, on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. as the lead-in to "Grey's Anatomy." Five has acquired the exclusive U.K. terrestrial and digital rights. It's unclear wht slot Five will give the new show.

Jeff Ford, managing director of digital channels and acquisitions at Five, said: "I am delighted we will be the U.K. broadcaster of this gripping new series. When we saw the pilot at the L.A. Screenings this year, we knew it would be perfect for our channels and make a fantastic addition to our autumn lineup."

Catherine Powell, senior vp program distribution for the international unit of Disney, added: "Five has an impressive track record of breaking U.S. shows in the U.K. and will be an energetic and creative marketing partner to ensure we make the most of 'FlashForward's' clear appeal to British viewers."

The high-concept, character-driven plot is based on a novel by Robert J Swayer in which the entire world suffers a brief blackout (2 minutes  and 17 seconds) and everyone sees a vision of their own future in six months' time on a specific date, April 29, 2010.

The series is from ABC Studios and David Goyer (co-writer of "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight") is executive producer/writer/director. Brannon Braga ("24," "Star Trek: Enterprise") is executive producer and co-wrote the pilot. Marc Guggenheim, another of the exec producers, will be the showrunner, along with Goyer.
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