The next 'Downton'? Netflix grabs hit British show 'Happy Valley'

Amazon may have exclusive dibs on "Downton Abbey," but Netflix grabs this year's break-out UK drama.

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Sarah Lancashire stars in BBC hit "Happy Valley" Netflix

Did Netflix just score the next "Downtown Abbey"?

"Happy Valley," a hit BBC show that debuted in the UK earlier this year to high ratings, will premiere in the US and Canadian on Netflix exclusively on August 20.

It's the latest in Netflix's strategy to be more selective about programming for its "Internet TV network," as it tries to elbow out both online rivals like Amazon's Prime Instant Video as well as traditional TV networks to get top content.

Once housing a vast library of old movies and TVs to get the streaming concept up and running, Netflix -- the No. 1 subscription streaming-video service by number of subscribers -- has since begun forsaking big deals with reams of older titles to be more discriminating about what its service offers, opting for for buzzed-about original programs like "House of Cards" and top exclusives like "Happy Valley."

"We're proud to add this highly lauded, masterfully crafted and brilliantly acted British series to the exclusive offerings Netflix viewers in the US and Canada can enjoy," said Elizabeth Bradley, vice president of content acquisition at Netflix, in a statement.

"Happy Valley" is a six-part miniseries that originally aired on the BBC in April. It details the personal and professional life of a hard-working, small-town police woman -- played by BAFTA winner Sarah Lancashire -- as the man she believes to be responsible for her daughter's death is released from prison.

It premiered on BBC One in the UK to 7.6 million viewers -- the best in its time slot. That compares to the 9.2 million British viewers who tuned into the first episode of "Downton Abbey "on network ITV in the UK. Amazon secured a high-profile deal to be the exclusive online source for "Downton Abbey" -- and will be the exclusive online subscription service for the coming fifth season as well -- but only after the show aired for US audiences on PBS.

Netflix will be the first and only place viewers in the US and Canada can see "Happy Valley."

 

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