U.S. series stage Brit invasion

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Big-ticket U.S. television series were bound for the U.K. en masse Thursday in a slew of major studio deals with U.K. broadcasters (HR 6/15).

Virgin Media Television, in a groundbreaking deal with Warner Bros. International Television, has secured exclusive U.K. rights to the upcoming drama "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," starring British actress Lena Headey.

WBITV also signed a programming deal with Channel Four, while Disney ABC International TV also signed with Channel Four for a slew of programming.

Virgin 1 said that it will be giving its new acquisition "the full multimedia treatment — offering viewers the opportunity to watch whenever and wherever they want." Catch-ups and previews will be available via Virgin Media's television on-demand services.

Virgin also said that its Virgin 1 service will be the new U.K. home of the "Star Trek" franchise — from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" through to "Star Trek: Enterprise" — totaling 624 hours of sci-fi programming, acquired from CBS Paramount International Television.

Meanwhile, Channel Four has signed a new deal with WBITV securing a slew of programming for Channel Four, E4 and More4.

Channel Four and E4 will hold the rights to broadcast the next two seasons of drama "One Tree Hill," and More4 will continue to hold exclusive rights to "The Closer," starring Kyra Sedgwick.

The deal also includes new comedy series "The Big Bang Theory."
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