It looks like Capt. Jack Harkness and his alien-fighting crew are homeless once again.
Fox Broadcasting Co. said it will not move forward with a plan to bring the “Doctor Who” spinoff “Torchwood” directly to American audiences, while BBC Worldwide expressed confidence the series would get off the ground in the United States, just not at Fox.
“BBC Worldwide Productions and the Fox Broadcasting Co. have mutually agreed not to progress together with a 13-episode serialized ‘Torchwood’ format,” BBC said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We are currently in discussion with several interested networks.”
There has been a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding the American “Torchwood,” specifically with how an American network might downplay or even remove the omnisexuality of Capt. Jack Harkness, the time agent originally introduced in the first season of the revived “Doctor Who” played by John Barrowman. The actor, who is currently doing a recurring stint on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” has gone out of his way to tell fans and the media that Capt. Jack would not change in an American version of the show, and that there can’t be a “Torchwood” without Capt. Jack.
Some insiders have told Airlock Alpha fears that Fox would de-gay “Torchwood” were unfounded. Despite its affiliation with the conservative-leaning Fox News Network, the television side has been traditionally more liberal. One of its most talked about shows, “Glee,” has heavy gay-friendly influences, and is even set to feature a recurring same-sex high school relationship.
Other fans were worried about how an American version of the show might affect the overall Doctor Who universe. While it seems almost certain that BBC is not pursuing a full third season of the show on BBC, despite the success of its “Children of Earth” miniseries event. Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner, former executive producers on “Doctor Who” (and credited with bringing that series back from the dead), have been attached to an American installment, and had been working with Fox in how that would come about.
Sources have also told Airlock Alpha that there are some concerns about the shortened format that BBC Worldwide wants to pursue, keeping to the 13-episode orders common with BBC programming, and not expanding to the more 22- to 24-episode orders typical on network television.
Jane Tranter, an executive vice president of programming with BBC Worldwide, said work continues on an American version of “Torchwood,” and that it remains “very much alive.” However, any fans worried that “Doctor Who” might take a similar route shouldn’t be worried.
“It may well be confusing to have a British Doctor and an American Doctor at the same time,” Tranter told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is only one Doctor, so I don’t see that happening.”