Sky purchases UK Glee rights

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Subscription channel Sky has purchased the rights to broadcast US television programme Glee in the United Kingdom. New episodes of the show are anticipated to commence airing on BSkyB television station Sky1 during the autumn of this year.

Channel 4, who have been broadcasting the programme from its first episode until the end of the second season, rejected the opportunity to involve themselves in broadcasting rights negotiations in May of this year. According to reports, Sky had placed an offer of £12 million for season three episodes, in excess of twice the total Channel 4 had provided for seasons one and two.

Describing the programme as "part of a long-term commitment to investing in programming – both originated and acquired – that will continue to deliver the best choice, quality and value to our customers," Stuart Murphy, Sky's programme director, described Glee as "the perfect fit for Sky1 and we're thrilled to be able to build on the success it has already achieved." In the run-up to the premiere of the third season, a show entitled The Glee Project will be aired on Sky1. This programme consists of members of the Glee production staff will attempt to locate a performer they deem suitable for appearing in various season three episodes.

Channel 4 first broadcast Glee in the UK on January 12, 2010. According to NME, audience viewing figures of 1.14 million were recorded at this stage. During the second season, first airing on January 10, 2011, ratings of 1.61 million were noted. At its peak, Glee achieved viewing figures of 2.6 million amongst series two, according to BBC News Online, placing Glee amongst the most watched shows aired on digital channel E4. The final episode of the second season was broadcast on E4 Monday, making this the final episode provided as 'free-to-air', due to Sky being a subscription service.

Ian Brennan, a writer for Glee, has informed E! of modifications to the line-up of actors appearing in the programme, noting that "we would be missing a beat if we didn't acknowledge the fact that a huge part of high school is graduating from high school". Although not all of the entire cast list will be replaced, "some of the cast will graduate", Brennan stated.


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