In a turnabout from a previous arrangement, BBC America now has first US broadcast rights for the soon-to-be-aired hour-long specials of Doctor Who, Variety reported today.
The Next Doctor, the show's 2008 Christmas episode, will make its US debut at 9:00 p.m. on June 27, followed by Planet of the Dead in July (date TBA). Specific US air dates will be determined for the subsequent specials after they've aired in the UK.
BBC America - which has to bid for British shows just like any other American broadcaster - will continue its first run deal on Torchwood, airing that show's third season in July.
Other science fiction shows debuting on the network this summer include Being Human (starting July 25) and Survivors, starring Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman (date TBA). The third season of ITV's dinosaur time romp Primeval is currently airing on the network.
Current BBC America president Garth Ancier says that's the network should always have had Doctor Who. "If I'd been here [when the original deal was made]," Ancier said, "we wouldn't have sold it, to be quite honest." For the last four years, the Sci Fi Channel has held first rights, with BBC America holding second rights.