ITV Buys Majority Stake in 'Line of Duty' Producer
The police show has been a major hit for the BBC.
U.K. TV giant ITV has acquired a majority stake in World Productions, the company behind BBC TV hit Line of Duty.
Line of Duty, set within the anti-corruption team of a British police force, has become one of the most talked about shows on British television.
Following three seasons on BBC Two, where it became the channel’s highest-rated drama in 15 years, season four moved to flagship channel BBC One where its final episode — starring Thandie Newton — concluded Sunday evening with an audience of 7.5 million, the series' best-ever rating.
World Productions is also behind shows such as Born to Kill, The Bletchley Circle, Dark Angel, In Plain Sight, Code of a Killer, The Great Train Robbery and The Fear, and is currently producing Save Me, a new series for Sky Atlantic written by and starring Line of Duty's Lennie James.
ITV Studios’ distribution business, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, will manage international distribution of new series.
World Productions CEO Roger Charteris will step down from the business, with creative director and new CEO Simon Heath and managing director Roderick Seligman continuing to oversee the creative and day-to-day management.
"I'm delighted to welcome Simon and the World Productions team into the ITVS family," said ITV Studios managing director Julian Bellamy. "World has made a name for itself as one the country's foremost drama producers with a raft of brilliant, stand out series from BBC’s Line of Duty to Channel 4's Born to Kill. I can't wait to work with Simon’s team as they drive World Productions into a new phase of growth in the UK and beyond."
"We are immensely proud of how far World Productions has come and to be handing over a company which is producing some of the very finest British television drama." said Charteris.
While nothing about that was mentioned Tuesday, ITV may eventually choose to move future seasons of Line of Duty from the BBC to ITV (although not season five, which has already been announced), getting another hit show away from the broadcaster that has lost The Voice and The Great British Bake Off in recent years.