Amazon has come to the rescue of the recently canceled BBC series Ripper Street with plans to co-finance the series for first run rights.
After two season, the BBC had announced the cancelation of its period drama, Ripper Street. The series was a co-production between the BBC and BBC America. The American channel was interested in moving forward with more episodes, but the BBC was not.
Enter Amazon. With the recent announcement of Lovefilm being brought in under the same roof, there is a need for content. The online company has stepped in and said it was willing to pick up the BBC’s side of the financing if it would have the first run rights to the third season’s episodes in the United Kingdom. The episodes would then air on BBC 1 a few months after their online premiere. Amazon Prime Instant Video will also be the exclusive online home for the first two seasons in the U.K.
While it isn’t unheard of a canceled series to change networks – the most recent example being the long run of Southland on TNT after only one season on NBC – this is a new trend of seeing canceled series jumping to online venues. Netflix recently did the same with The Killing, although in that deal the episodes will remain exclusive to the streaming media company and not be aired on its original channel.
With sites such as Amazon, Crackle, Hulu and Netflix all creating original programming now, and noe picking up canceled series with built-in, loyal fan bases, one has to wonder when the traditional networks will begin viewing them more as competition as opposed to partners.