ITV may seek digital partner for 'Primeval'

Impossible Pictures, Sci Fi U.K. may team for fourth series

LONDON -- It's one of ITV's biggest drama shows of recent years but ITV director of programs Peter Fincham is having trouble funding the next series of supernatural dinosaur series "Primeval" -- and is thought to be looking for a digital partner.

ITV is reportedly looking to see first run rights to the show handed to a digital rival as a means of cutting its commission fees for the fourth series of the show, which has yet to secure a commission from the terrestrial network.

The proposal, which has not been confirmed, would likely see "Primeval" producer Impossible Pictures debut the show with Sci Fi U.K., and offer ITV the second-run rights, the Media Guardian reported.

Featuring Douglas Henshall and Ben Miller as investigative scientists, the show about dinosaurs coming to earth through wormholes in space has given ITV a strong modern drama to air in a Saturday evening slot, helping it to reconnect with family and young male audiences.

But despite record ratings with such entertainment shows as "Britain's Got Talent" and "I'm A Celebrity" ITV's declining ad revenues means that Fincham has found drama increasingly hard to fund and has scaled back the network's commitments in the last year.

NBC and Impossible Pictures declined comment, while a spokesman for ITV said only that Fincham expected to make a decision on re-commissioning the show "within the next few weeks."