ITV will broadcast FX's political thriller The Americans, bringing the 1980s-set drama to a wider terrestrial audience in the UK. The show concerns two KGB agents (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys) living in New York during the Cold War, whose own children aren't aware they're Soviet spies working deep undercover. It's created by Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies) and executive-produced by Graham Yost (Justified), Joel Fields (Rizzoli & Isles), Darryl Frank (Smash) and Justin Falvey (The Borgias).
Angela Jain, ITV's Director of Digital Channels & Acquisitions, has said the channel's "... 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."
Interestingly, despite once being the UK's biggest importer of US television during the '80s and '90s, ITV's last American import was Pushing Daisies five years ago. It's good to see them taking a chance again. I'm always happy when a terrestrial broadcaster pick up a big US show, as it just isn't the same when shows disappear behind BSkyB or Virgin Media paywalls.
ITV were probably inspired to import The Americans because of the huge success Channel 4 have enjoyed with the vaguely similar Homeland. I hate to criticise satellite/cable broadcasters for doing their job (buying popular US content to tempt people into subscribing to them), but I don't think anybody can deny it's culturally better when TV shows are accessible to everyone—for free.
Try starting a British workplace conversation about Dexter versus a workplace conversation about Homeland (which both air on Showtime in the States), and you'll see what I mean...
THE AMERICANS will premiere in the US on 30 January 2013, with ITV expected to start airing it soon after. (My guess would be March, but I hope I'm proved wrong.)