Lionsgate's 'The Royals' Drama Lands on E! UK

'The Royals'

Other British networks passed on the soap about a fictitious British royal family after being told the real-life British royal family was not mocked.

Lionsgate first shopped the E! drama The Royals to U.K. networks at MIPCOM, telling suspicious Brits the Elizabeth Hurley-starrer about a fictitious British royal family did not mock the real-life British royal family.

That pitch apparently didn't work as the mini-studio on Thursday confirmed Universal Networks International has taken the British TV rights for The Royals drama for its UK pay TV channel E! The UK TV deal follows earlier agreements for the scripted series to air on E! channels in the U.S. and Canada.

E! in the U.S. renewed the Lionsgate Television drama from One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn for a second season, ahead of The Royals debuting stateside on March 15. E! in the UK will start airing the first two seasons on March 25.

"We are particularly excited by The Royals as E!'s first original scripted drama is set in the UK, features a stellar British cast, including Elizabeth Hurley and Joan Collins, together with young emerging local talent," Nicky Douglas, managing director, UK, Universal Networks International, said in a statement.

The Royals has Hurley playing a conniving, diamond-dripping Queen Helena, with William Moseley co-starring as Prince Liam and Australian newcomer Alexandra Park as Princess Eleanor. Peter Iacono, Lionsgate's president of international television distribution and digital, said the mini-studio is building on its relationship with E! on The Royals.

"The series exemplifies the kind of distinctive and daring programming that defines and drives our TV brand and we're very pleased that British viewers will have the opportunity to meet The Royals when the series launches on E! UK next month," Iacono said.

Universal Cable Productions joined Lionsgate and E! on the second season of The Royals as a co-producer.