BBC America has announced that they are airing the 2008 Doctor Who Christmas special, The Next Doctor at 9PM on June 27. The following episode, The Planet of the Dead, will air sometime in July, with the airdates of further episodes yet to be determined.
For the first four series of the new Doctor Who, the Sci Fi Channel, owned by NBC Universal, has had first airing rights to the show. However, as this year has progressed, and now with two new episodes that did not have airdates in the States confirmed, fans of the show were beginning to wonder if and when the episodes would ever find airtime.
With this announcement, it seems NBC Universal no longer has first airing rights to Doctor Who, which had served as a large draw to the Sci Fi Channel’s Friday night schedule, along with the updated Battlestar Galactica program. Now it seems that BBC America has first airing rights to Doctor Who, which makes logical sense considering the fact that it is a BBC production.
The summertime airing of two new Doctor Who specials will lead into BBC America’s upcoming programming lineup, including new episodes of fantasy series Being Human, the five-episode story arc that is the third series of Doctor Who spin-off program Torchwood, and new program Survivors, and further episodes of Primeval.
The airdate of Torchwood‘s third series has also been up for debate, not just in the States, but also back at home, with the BBC not yet confirming when they’ll air the show. The original idea was for the episodes to air first on BBC, and later on the same day in the States on BBC America. Those plans do not seem likely to actually happen, but there will not be all that great a delay in the US airings of the episodes.