London 2012: BBC to Use Olympics to Promote Fall Dramas for First Time

BBC Keeps Olympics Through 2020

A week ahead of the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics, the BBC has signed a deal to ensure it will remain the exclusive U.K. Olympic broadcaster through 2020 at least. The agreement signed with the International Olympic Committee includes U.K. rights across all media platforms, including online and mobile.

The U.K. public broadcaster will take a page from the playbook of U.S. networks and tout its programming slate.

LONDON - U.S. TV networks have long used the big audiences for major sporting events, such as the Olympics or the Super Bowl, as launching pads for upcoming TV shows.

But the BBC will use the London 2012 Summer Olympics as the first Games to promote shows on its fall schedule, the Guardian reported.

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The U.K. public broadcaster's BBC1, which will offer wall-to-wall Summer Games coverage except for news updates, will use its Olympics programming to launch six fall dramas with 90-second trailers that will air at 8pm every night for the 16-day duration of the Games, it said.

The campaign will focus on dramas Hunted, Good Cop, The Secret of Crickley Hall, Shetland, Ripper Street and Accused under the theme "Made in Britain."

It will also remind viewers about several long-running shows, such as Doctor Who, Merlin and EastEnders, which will air on BBC2 instead of BBC1 during the Olympics.

The BBC will broadcast 2,500 hours of live Olympics coverage, meaning that its commercial rivals are expected to see ratings hits during the Games.

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BBC1 controller Danny Cohen told the Guardian that the Olympics provide a "rare and unique opportunity" to promote the channel's upcoming drama slate.

BBC controller of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson said the dramas stand for the "very best of British, made with ambition and scale that I hope will capture the imagination of our audiences with the same spirit as the London 2012 Olympics."