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Channel 4 Acquires U.K. Rights to 'Masters of Sex' From Sony Pictures Television

Masters of Sex Key Art - H 2012
Craig Blankenhorn/SHOWTIME
"Masters of Sex"

The drama about pioneering sex experts Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson will debut on the U.K. broadcaster soon after its premiere on Showtime in September.

LONDON -- Britain's Channel 4 has acquired the U.K. premiere broadcast rights to Masters of Sex, a new Showtime drama based on the lives of pioneering sex experts Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

The series from Sony Pictures Television stars Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) and Lizzy Caplan (True Blood, Mean Girls).

VIDEO: Showtime Releases New 'Masters of Sex' Teaser (Video)

Showtime picked up the show, created by Michelle Ashford and based on Thomas Maier's biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, for a first season with 12 hour-long episodes. It is set to premiere on Sept. 29.

Channel 4 said it will debut the show "soon after its launch on Showtime in the U.S."

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Set on the eve of the sexual revolution, the show focuses on the two sex experts as they face disapproval of their unconventional methods. "The two embark upon a study to unlock the mysteries of desire and intimacy -- whilst behind closed doors, they struggle with their own clash of success, betrayal and jealousy," the show description says.

"Masters of Sex is an incredibly classy period drama, which provides fascinating insight into the scientific study of human sexuality," said Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt. "With compelling performances from Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as Masters and Johnson, it’s an unmissable treat."

Said Kylie Munnich, senior vp distribution for UK, Africa and Ireland at Sony Pictures Television: "When it comes to drama, SPT is synonymous with brave, bold storytelling that captivates audiences and challenges boundaries. The adventurous and inquisitive spirit of Channel 4 makes it the perfect U.K. partner for Masters of Sex.”  

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai