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Ovation TV to Bring UK Hit Series "Portrait Artist of the Year" to the US

Ovation, America’s only arts network, has acquired US premiere rights to seasons one and two of the popular UK competition series Portrait Artist of the Year (13 X 60’ and 2 X 90’) from Zodiak Rights. The announcement was made today by Lori Hall, VP, Scheduling and Acquisitions, Ovation.

Portrait Artist of the Year is hosted by Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner, who are joined by an esteemed group of judges as they search across the UK and Ireland where shortlisted artists were challenged to produce a portrait of one of three famous sitters. At the end of each round, the judges select an artist to go to the semi final. The winners from the tryouts then take part in more extraordinary portrait challenges, including painting multi-award-winning actor Sir Ian McKellen, before the grand final at the National Portrait Gallery. Other celebrity sitters/guest stars over the two seasons include Hilary Mantel, John Hannah, Sophie Turner, Simon Weston, Sophie Dahl, Maisie Williams, John Humphrys, Julian Fellowes, Richard Dawkins and Alan Cumming.

“This series hits on so many of Ovation’s key touchstones,” commented Hall. “Not only is it centered in the arts, but it focuses on the artistic process and celebrates the next generation of artists. The production itself is handled deftly, bringing the magic of capturing the nuances of a human face to life in a smart and totally entertaining way. We think the show will win over Ovation viewers as it has won art enthusiasts throughout the UK.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Ovation to bring Storyvault Film’s runaway hit series Portrait Artist of the Year to US television. The show has been nothing less than a juggernaut in the UK, consistently breaking ratings records and spawning spinoff shows. We have no doubt that America’s premier channel dedicated to the arts will be an excellent home for the brand,” commented Andreas Lemos, Zodiak Rights, VP Sales for North America, who helped to broker the deal.

Portrait Artist of the Year is produced by Storyvault Films for Sky Arts and is distributed internationally by Zodiak Rights. The series will premiere on Ovation on October 18.