E4’s comedy drama series Glee could be the latest high-profile show to be poached by Sky.
Boasting regular big-name guest-stars, the sassy high school musical - now in its second series - is E4’s most popular import, with audiences of around two million regularly tuning in. But it looks like becoming the latest Freeview casualty of Sky’s superior spending power.
Sky has a track record of allowing other channels to road test transatlantic properties before stepping in to outbid them for future series.
Previous prominent US acquisitions have included mind-bending fantasy Lost, which Sky bought after its second series on Channel 4; real-time thriller 24, which spent two seasons on BBC2 before moving to Sky; Prison Break, formerly a Channel 5 property; and, most recently, slick 60s drama Mad Men, which is heading Skywards after four series on BBC4.
Sky has long been interested in adding Glee to its roster, although last autumn the broadcaster’s head of entertainment, Sophie Turner-Laing, suggested it would have a battle on its hands as E4 owners Channel 4 tried to hold on to the show.
"I think Channel 4 would like to keep it,” Turner-Laing told The Guardian. “They've got rather a lot of money because they have no Big Brother, and Friends has gone to Comedy Central."
But it now looks as if Channel 4 is throwing in the towel. Reports suggest Sky are willing to shell out around £500,000 per episode, and a source at Channel 4 said it was “not prepared to pay over the odds”.
While a Sky spokesperson told RadioTimes.com “no deal has been completed as yet”, it seems likely that an announcement is imminent, and that the Glee gang will be starting next term at a different institution.