Agent Carter UK release deal expected by end of summer
James R | On 28, May 2015
A deal for the UK release of Agent Carter is expected to be announced by the end of summer.
The Marvel series, which sees Haywell Atwell reprise her role as the eponymous Peggy Carter, is a spin-off from Captain America, as the SHIELD agent carries out investigations in 1940s America. The ABC show is created by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and follows a Marvel One-Shot short film of the same name that was included with Iron Man 3’s home entertainment release. The supporting cast includes James D’Arcy and Chad Michael Murray.
Despite the One-Shot’s popularity and its British lead, though, Agent Carter has still not been broadcast in the UK. It premiered in the US in January 2015, when many anticipated it would be shown on Channel 4, who broadcast Marvel’s other small screen spin-off, Agents of SHIELD. But the broadcaster passed, leaving the programme without a British home.
At this year’s LA Screenings, when international distribution deals are signed, though, Disney are confident of securing a partner.
Sources at the House of Mouse tell TV Wise that it is “confident that a UK deal for Marvel’s Agent Carter will be reached and announced by the end of the Summer”.
The reasons why give some insight into the delay. Why isn’t Agent Carter shown in the UK? That’s partly because there was little indication of the end result or its quality at the time: there was only the One-Shot film to show at last year’s LA Screenings. Even with Marvel’s backing, its popularity compared to Agents of SHIELD would not be guaranteed. (Similarly, The CW’s iZombie (a DC comics adaptation), was not picked up by UK broadcasters at last year’s LA Screenings due to fears that it could be eclipsed by AMC’s undead titan, The Walking Dead.)
The length was also a likely factor: the show is only eight episodes, far shorter than Agents’ run (it was broadcast during the US mid-season break for Season 2). While something like HBO’s True Detective was snapped up by Sky in the UK, the miniseries had its star power to sell it, whereas last year’s 24: Live Another Day, also picked up by Sky, had an in-built audience thanks to the franchise’s history.
So what has changed? Now, Agent Carter has been renewed for a longer, second season of 10 episodes, which makes it far more appealing to international broadcasters. The Goldbergs, for example, was only bought by Channel 4 after a second season was confirmed. The Affair, meanwhile, which is now set for a second run, was only picked up by Sky Atlantic after it won Golden Globes at the start of the year.
Social media outcry for Agent Carter has been strong ever since the January US premiere, with some resorting to torrents to watch the show illegally. In the past, to combat piracy, shows without a traditional UK broadcaster have increasingly gone straight to VOD, whether that’s a subscription service, such as Amazon and (the now cancelled) Constantine or Vikings, or pay-per-view, such as iTunes and Sons of Anarchy’s final season.
“We should know very soon if the show will be picked up in he UK,” tweeted Hayley last week.
TV Wise reports that “the UK home may surprise some industry observers”.
Where could Agent Carter find a home in the UK? The comment suggests not Netflix, although the streaming company has already invested heavily in both its own Daredevil (and The Defenders) series and the global SVOD rights to Gotham. With Channel 5 already stumping up cash for the first-broadcast rights to the DC show before it hits Netflix, could Peggy be picked up by the BBC, or by the increasingly ambitious UKTV network, who snapped up The Strain in 2014? Or, with Amazon burned by the cancellation of Constantine, could the online retailer re-enter the superhero sphere? Place your bets below!
Either way, the question of when Agent Carter will be released in the UK should finally be answered in a matter of weeks.