ITV2 Adds U.S. Drama, Comedies To Lineup
The UK’s ITV2 just announced a quartet of acquisitions of U.S. shows. ABC’s new supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue was picked up from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. It stars Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable and is set in a disturbing NYC building. No date has been set for its UK bow. ITV2 also picked up three comedies for air in 2013: 20th TV’s new sibling laffer Ben And Kate and NBC Universal Television Distribution’s new comedy Animal Practice and returning series Up All Night. Separately, Law & Order: UK has been commissioned for a seventh season by ITV1. Bradley Walsh and Paul Nicolls star in the Kudos Film and Television and Wolf Films production. The channel ordered 8 episodes to start shooting in November. They’ll be produced by Jane Hudson with Kudos’ creative director Jane Featherstone exec producing.

‘Rupert’ To Tread The Boards In Oz
Rupert Murdoch has inspired countless books and documentaries and now the mogul will be subject of a stage play. Written by David Williamson, whose film credits include Gallipoli and The Year Of Living Dangerously, and staged by Melbourne Theater Company, Rupert is due to open next August. No casting has been announced. Williamson says he was struck by the similarities between Murdoch and England’s Richard III, “He was someone who everyone discounted at the start but who worked his way up to becoming king … Rupert does share something with Richard III, he is not homicidal but he has that great combination of charm, intelligence, boldness, ruthlessness, deviousness.” Evidently the play will be factually-based, as Williamson explains, “His life has been too interesting to fictionalize, there would be no point.” Nor will it be ideological. He says, “If you make a thesis play ‘Rupert is bad’ or ‘Rupert is evil’, it’s not going to work.” Separately, Screen Australia is funding a documentary entitled Murdoch, produced by Electric Pictures for Australia’s SBS and Britain’s ITV, with sales handled by BBC Worldwide and Ten Alps.    - Don Groves

Spanish TV Merger Creates Network Duopoly
Government approval Friday for a merger of the networks Antena 3 and smaller rival La Sexta cemented a virtual TV duopoly in the Spanish TV market, which is struggling as advertising revenue dries up. Reuters noted that dozens of media outlets have shuttered since Spain’s boom turned to bust in 2008, and surviving operators are slashing budgets and cutting staff to stay afloat. Antena 3 and market leader Mediaset Espana already have an audience share of almost 50% and command more than two-thirds of the TV advertising market. With the combination of Antena3/La Sexta their influence will increase. The most-watched channels after Mediaset and Antena 3 are public stations that do not carry commercials.