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Virgin expands Kingdom with second exclusive

Scripted-logo-460_2KingdomVirgin Media’s push into exclusive UK programming has continued with the acquisition of mixed martial arts-themed US drama Kingdom.

The UK pay TV platform will launch the Endemol Shine International-distributed Byron Balasco series in April 1 on its VOD service.

The deal comprises 30 one-hours and follows on from the deal that saw Virgin bag Starz zombie comedy-drama Ash Vs. Evil Dead last year. That made Virgin the latest player in the c0mpetitive UK pay TV sector acquiring exclusive content.

The first six episodes of Kingdom will debut to Virgin Media TV XL customers on April 1, followed by a new episode release each following week. The final episode of season one will broadcast alongside the first of season two.

Endemol Shine Studios originally produced Kingdom for US pay TV platform DirecTV. It has since sold around the world, for example to Sony’s AXN pay channel in Germany.

Set in California, it follows an MMA legend who runs a gym along with his sons, the youngest a prize-fighter and the elder a trouble soul.

“When choosing our exclusive programmes we look for edgy, immersive stories with exciting talent, a strong genre and characters with real depth,” said Virgin Media chief digital entertainment officer David Bouchier, the Sky veteran drafted in last year to oversee the content.

“We want to bring our customers something distinctive which they won’t otherwise see on British TV. Kingdom ticks all of these boxes and I know our customers are going to love it.

“We’ve got huge plans for Virgin TV this year and there’s no better way to start than with a Kingdom-sized roundhouse kick.”