Why Danish Hit ‘The Killing’ Has Never Been Seen on U.S. TV — Until Now

So we've only been selling the streaming rights for about six months, and we've seen a huge spike in interest.” “We were finally able to clear all rights at the end of 2020,” said DR sales executive Freja Johanne Nørgaard Sørensen.
“The Killing” was lauded for its unique storytelling, which followed a Danish detective inspector (played by Sofie Gråbøl) as she solves a murder case. Each episode represents a day in the investigation. The show eventually made its way to more than 120 countries, mostly in the early part of the last decade.
“It’s been the perfect timing for us to release our titles,” she adds. And now, with the global success of Netflix’s “Squid Game,” it continues to be a seller’s market for international fare that might have previously been overlooked in territories particularly like the U.S. They’re getting the life they deserve.” And presumably, making a killing.” /> “Catalog titles that are 10, 20 years old are all of a sudden a hot commodity.
The streamer, owned by First Look Media and available in the U.S. “The Killing” (or, in Danish, “Forbrydelsen”) was added to boutique streaming service Topic in September. drama on FX — and “Follow the Money” (“Bedrag”). and Canada, continues to grow its roster of international fare, having recently also added two more Scandinavian series: “The Bridge” (“Bron”) — which was also adapted as a U.S.
debut of “Forbrydelsen” wound up on Topic. and Canada as well but we felt that Topic was the right fit for us from negotiating the contracts to delivery to everything,” says Nørgaard Sørensen. That’s how the U.S. “We feel their passion and know what they're going for which route they're taking with your program.” “We had a lot of interest for ‘The Killing’ in the U.S.
The international success of “The Killing” foretold the globalization of worldwide TV hits hailing from all parts of the globe, not just the usual territories like the U.S. and the U.K. — predating the streaming revolution, which has made it much easier to watch such shows. Now, international hits such as Netflix’s “Squid Games” and "La Casa de Papel” have become more frequent.
“What we were excited about in launching Topic was to be a home for so many great series over the past five or ten years that never really came meaningfully or at all to the U.S., partially because the appetite wasn’t there, or there wasn’t anybody focused on looking and picking out what was available,” Chanatry says.
Danish TV drama “The Killing” was an international smash nearly 15 years ago, winning an International Emmy and a BAFTA award, and even spawning an English-language American adaptation that ran on AMC (and later, Netflix). But until this year, the original series had never been available in the United States.
“I think this is a perfect time to be releasing [these shows] and hopefully getting people who watched the U.S. version to see what inspired it,” says Topic general manager Ryan Chanatry.
It was only recently that Danish production company DR ironed out streaming VOD rights and could start selling it worldwide — and that’s when Topic came calling. “Forbrydelsen” didn’t find a linear U.S. network interested in acquiring episodes back in the day.
But there’s a new hunger now for global fare, especially now that U.S. International series, particularly those not in English (but even plenty that were) used to be nonstarters for U.S. audiences have shown a willingness to watch subtitled series. series when the shelves were empty due to a Hollywood strike or production shutdown. broadcast and cable outlets, which preferred to focus on homegrown fare — and would only acquire Canadian or U.S.
Streaming behemoths like Netflix are at the forefront of acquiring such new and library international titles. But a smaller upstart like Topic can tout the fact that it’s only looking for North American rights — unlike Netflix or Amazon, which look to do global licenses. For a distributor like DR, which is looking to maximize its dealmaking in each territory, that’s appealing.

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