Viacom's Spike to Launch in U.K. With 'Breaking Bad,' Latest 'Walking Dead' Season
The network's first foreign iteration will also feature 'Lip Sync Battle,' which launches in the U.S. in April, and an original show with Vinnie Jones.
Viacom''s Spike will launch in the U.K. on April 15 with such hit shows as AMC's Breaking Bad, the latest season of The Walking Dead, upcoming Spike U.S. show Lip Sync Battle and original British series.
Breaking Bad will air on the British channel, Spike's first iteration outside the U.S., marking the first time the drama has been shown on linear TV in Britain in its entirety.
The fifth and latest season of The Walking Dead will also be available on Spike U.K., the first time it will be available on free-to-air TV in Britain. The show in the U.K. first airs on FX, which has the pay TV rights. Viacom-owned U.K. broadcaster Channel 5 has aired the first seasons of the show in the free-to-air window.
Original commissions on Spike U.K. will include Police Interceptors Unleashed, the return to British TV for actor and former soccer player Vinnie Jones (Arrow, Elementary). The show follows the work of the high-speed police interception unit.
Tattoo Disasters UK, which will show some of the most painful examples of body art and the individuals having to learn to live with their inky mistakes, is among the other original series.
Upcoming Spike U.S. show Lip Sync Battle, hosted by LL Cool J, will be the new U.K. network's flagship entertainment show at launch. The half-hour series, which debuts in the U.S. on April 2, was created by Jimmy Fallon and his Eight Million Plus Productions; Stephen Merchant (Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show), John Krasinski (The Office), Matador (Banksy Does New York) and Casey Patterson.
Spike will also be the U.K. TV home of mixed martial arts. It will air Bellator MMA just like its U.S. sibling network. Spike U.K. has also signed an exclusive deal with the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts for its tournaments, which will air in a Saturday "Fight Night" slot.
Meanwhile, other acquired dramas that will air on Spike from launch include the British TV premiere of Olympus, but also Justified and Sons of Anarchy. The channel will also offer a range of reality series from Spike in the U.S. and factual shows from Channel 5.
Said Ben Frow, Channel 5’s program director, whose team oversees commissioning, scheduling and acquisitions for the new channel: "Spike is a driven, high-energy channel offering a point of view and program mix I think is different from anything else on British TV right now. I can’t wait to see our viewers embrace this exhilarating new channel."