Upcoming American spy drama The Americans, a property of FX in its home country, has surprisingly been lined up for its UK broadcast away from the more obvious avenue of recently-rebranded channel FOX, with digital terrestrial channel ITV announcing the show as coming to their screens.
The Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies, Damages)-created thriller, set during the Cold War, premieres on FX in the USA tomorrow (30 January), and stars Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters) and Keri Russell (Felicity) as a pair of Soviet KGB spies that pose as married couple ‘Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings’ living in Washington DC (USA), having to deal with ‘the emotional complexities’ of a sham marriage, growing more attracted to each other and ‘real’ each day while keeping up their sleeper agent missions.
The show will also feature Noah Emmerich (The Walking Dead, Miracle) as the Jennings’ neighbor ‘Stan’, who works as an undercover FBI agent.
The series has received a 13-episode order in its home country, though ITV have announced even more faith in the format by agreeing a ‘2-year commitment’ to The Americans – which will begin with ‘the UK premiere’ of the drama within the next few months.
ITV’s digital channels & acquisitions director Angela Jain stated of their new arrival: “We are delighted that a series of such high quality with really fantastic lead performances from Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys will be on ITV later this year. This drama about KGB spies posing as a suburban American couple is tense, taut and exciting to watch – we hope viewers will enjoy the ride.”
In other spy-based entertainment news, ABC have revealed a bit of a reversal on ITV’s move by announcing Sky comedy format Spy (based on ‘a well-meaning father who inadvertantly lands a job as a secret agent’) as one of their pilot orders for the coming television season.
For the more immediate future in espionage programming, though, previews for The Americans can be seen below, and while the concept has plenty of pulling power for American viewers wanting to see an alternative angle on the classic conflict, will it be a lucrative venture in a slightly more low-key participant of the Cold War?