Sky has signed a licensing deal with US media giant CBS that gives it exclusive rights to content from the CBS-owned Showtime network in several European territories including Ireland.
The agreement spans all new and future Showtime programmes, including the return of David Lynch's Twin Peaks and the Wall Street drama Billions. It means that these shows will air on the Sky Atlantic channel in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy.
Previously, Sky has licensed Showtime dramas, such as The Affair and Ray Donovan, on a programme-by-programme basis. Future seasons of both dramas will remain on Sky Atlantic, while Sky customers will also have on-demand access to Californication, Dexter and Nurse Jackie, which have now all finished their runs.
Billions, which stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, recently secured the highest ever debut ratings for a Showtime series in the US. Twin Peaks, co-created by Mark Frost, garnered a cult following when it first aired in 1990 and is set to return for more eerie happenings in 2017.
Homeland, which is produced for Showtime by Fox, is not covered by the deal.
The agreement with CBS tightens Sky’s hold on the European rights to premium US dramas.
The telecoms and entertainment group, which is 39 per cent owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, set up the Sky Atlantic channel in 2011 after it signed its first licensing deal with Time Warner's network HBO.
This made Sky Atlantic, which in Ireland is only available to Sky television customers, the home of high-profile shows such as Game of Thrones, Veep and Girls in the UK and Ireland. Sky and HBO recently extended their deal until 2020 with Germany, Austria and Italy added to the territories covered.
Sky said it planned to increase its investment in original productions, which include its partnership with Showtime on gothic horror series Penny Dreadful, which is made in Ireland at Ardmore Studios and on location in Dublin and Wicklow.
The third series of Penny Dreadful will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic later this year.