Sky locks in HBO content with UK output deal

UK pay TV operator BSkyB has inked an output deal with HBO that gives it exclusive rights to all of the US company’s content including upcoming series Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and Luck.

Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire will be the first HBO series on Sky under the terms of the programming deal and will go out soon after its US airing in September.

The deal also gives Sky rights to all of HBO’s library, which includes The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm and numerous other series.

The UK firm will also have first look at HBO-UK copros.

“Like HBO, we believe that innovative, high-quality content is worth paying for,” said Sophie Turner Laing, Sky’s managing director, entertainment, news and broadcast operations. “HBO has demonstrated year after year the opportunity for pay television to push creative boundaries and create must see TV.”

Separately, Sky announced a slate of UK-originated comedy series for its flagship Sky 1 channel.

Four series have been greenlit: Stella, a Tidy Productions-produced family saga about a 40-something mum written and starring Ruth Jones (Gavin and Stacey); Mount Pleasant, a Tiger Aspect-produced series about the not-so-perfect life of a thirty-something Mancunian couple; This is Jinsy, from Welded Tandem, about bizarre residents of a fictional island; and Little Crackers, a series of autobiographical comic shorts from different production companies featuring well-known comedians including Dawn French, Stephen Fry and Bill Bailey.

Sky is keen to reposition Sky 1 as a predominantly scripted channel and has commissioned several high-profile drama series since embarking on the initiative in 2008. The abovementioned series follow the arrival at Sky of Lucy Lumsden as head of comedy. Sky said Lumsden has over twenty comedy series in development.