Big Sky Among Disney+ Stars

Disney+ subscribers in NZ who want a sneak peek of what the service’s new Star channel will look like should note what’s been announced for Europe.

The undoubted highlight will be the exclusive run of the latest David E Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Undoing) drama, Big Sky.

It stars Kylie Bunbury and Ryan Philippe as private eyes who team with the latter’s ex-wife, a former cop (Katheryn Winnick), to find two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver in remote Montana.

The show has been a hit for the ABC network, which last month increased its first season order from 10 episodes to 16.

Reviews were mixed, ranging from “a muzzle-velocity suspense drama that’s easily the best broadcast show of 2020” (Reason) to “less of a twist on a TV mystery than an overwrought indulgence of the genre’s most basic instincts” (Variety).

Still, it’s clearly the pick of what Disney+ will be rolling out under the Star banner to broaden its appeal beyond family fare.

Once Big Sky probably would have screened here on TVNZ 2 but Disney has been holding back shows like this for its global streaming expansion.

You can also expect to see Love, Victor, a coming-of-age spin-off from the movie Love, Simon that was originally produced for Disney+ (but later offloaded on to Hulu), and library favourites like 24, Desperate Housewives, Prison BreakLost, The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy and How I Met Your Mother, subject to local licensing deals.

For instance, The X-Files is still streaming on Neon, Prison Break is on Netflix, TVNZ OnDemand has just picked up Desperate Housewives and Amazon Prime Video has Sons of Anarchy. But all these may be on a non-exclusive basis.

Other likelihoods are Bob’s Burgers, which Three abruptly pulled from its late-night schedule last month, and TVNZ 2’s black-ish.

“Many of these titles are part of existing licensing arrangements with other services and platforms in certain territories, which will likely continue to carry the shows — at least until their deal periods expire,” Variety reports.

Bear in mind there’s no official word yet on which series and movies from Disney-owned ABC, Freeform, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television and Touchstone will be on NZ’s Star service when it launches as a Hulu-lite on February 23.

But Sky has confirmed it will continue to get the returning seasons of currently licensed FX series, like FargoAtlanta, Pose and Mayans MC.

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2 Responses to “Big Sky Among Disney+ Stars”

  1. Where did you found out that Big Sky was going to screen on TVNZ 2?

  2. It was never going to screen on TVNZ 2 in the current marketplace, Sheldon. I was referring to when TVNZ had a distribution deal with Disney. It renegotiated that deal when so much Disney content wound up being relegated to late-night because it didn’t rate in primetime. Disney now operates on the open market in NZ but in the past year has started to save network series like Big Sky as exclusives for its global streaming services.

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