Tuesday, November 23, 2010

List of Cable Syndication Deals

I'm sick of reading articles about shows getting sold into cable syndication and not really knowing whether I should be impressed with the money being dished out. I'm all about the context here, and I've never been able to find a big list like this, so I did some searching and found quite a few per-episode dollar figures for your perusal. "Year" is the year the deal was made. (I thought about including the year the show premiered in first-run, also. I might add that in later, as it's interesting how some of these shows were sold at very different points in their first-run life cycles.) I'll save the inevitable disclaimer for the bottom.


Show Cable Net $ per episode Year
The Sopranos A&E 2,500,000 2007
Hawaii Five-0 TNT 2,500,000 2011
NCIS: Los Angeles USA 2,200,000 2009
The Mentalist TNT 2,200,000 2009
Law & Order: CI USA Network/Bravo 1,900,000 2004
CSI: NY Spike 1,900,000 2004
CSI Spike 1,600,000 2001
Castle TNT 1,500,000 2011
Cold Case TNT 1,400,000 2005
Without a Trace TNT 1,400,000 2003
House USA 1,400,000 2005
Medium Lifetime 1,350,000 2005
Law & Order: SVU USA 1,300,000 2001
Person of Interest WGN America 1,300,000 2013
Elementary WGN America 1,300,000 2014
Grey's Anatomy Lifetime 1,200,000 2006
The West Wing Bravo 1,200,000 2001
CSI: Miami A&E 1,000,000 2003
Law & Order TNT 800,000 2002
NCIS USA 750,000 2006
Criminal Minds A&E 650,000 2008
Glee Oxygen 500,000 2010
Desperate Housewives Lifetime 500,000 2006
Bones TNT 450,000 2008
Smallville ABC Family 400,000 2004
Heroes G4 300,000 2007
Lost Sci-Fi/G4 200,000 2008
Ugly Betty TV Guide 200,000 2009

Show Cable Net $ per episode Year
2 Broke Girls TBS 1,700,000 2012
The Big Bang Theory TBS 1,500,000 2010
Modern Family USA 1,400,000 2010
Two and a Half Men FX 850,000 2006
30 Rock Comedy Central 800,000 2009
Mike and Molly FX 750,000 2012
How I Met Your Mother Lifetime 750,000 2008
Sex and the City TBS 750,000 2003
New Girl TBS/MTV 700,000 2013
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Comedy Central 700,000 2009
The Office TBS 650,000 2007
My Name is Earl TBS 600,000 2007
Entourage Spike 600,000 2009
Curb Your Enthusiasm TV Guide/TV Land 600,000 2009
The Cleveland Show TBS/Adult Swim 500,000 2010
Bob's Burgers Adult Swim 500,000 2013
Old Christine Lifetime 350,000 2009
According to Jim TBS 300,000 2005

DISCLAIMER: These are just cable deals and don't (or at least shouldn't) include broadcast syndication money or streaming. They're all estimates, and at times they are even estimates of estimates, as not even all these figures are totally agreed upon. These figures might occasionally include money from a secondary network that isn't listed, like WGN or ION, and I should also note that there are other aspects of the deals (like minimum/maximum episode #s) that vary and that we're generally not privy to in Internet-land. Generally, though, they should be pretty good ballpark figures.

Since I mostly talk primetime first-run ratings around here, I'm not making this post for any reason other than to illuminate just one part of the balance sheet for many shows still around today or in recent history. I don't have access to the information that would allow me to make judgments on how solid these deals were for the cable nets, though the losses taken on many of these pacts (I'm thinking of Without a Trace, Entourage, pretty much all the Lifetime deals, and especially the ridiculous Sopranos deal) have been well documented elsewhere in the media.

Hoping to update this in the future as information for other shows comes out. There are a few shows whose cable bucks I'm quite interested in but couldn't find anything, namely Family Guy and American Dad! on TBS/Adult Swim, Scrubs on Comedy Central, and Supernatural on TNT. So if anybody knows of those or other figures or wants to contest some of the above, have at it.


mccollum said...

Great & informative list. Very useful!

Spot said...

Hey, do you happen to have any info whatsoever on 'Til Death? (given that it now airs on Spike and WGN America/your local Tribune-owned station)

Spot said...

I know nothing, sorry. Shockingly, that was not one of the higher-profile acquisitions!

Spot said...

What's shocking to me is that it's actually lasted more than a month on WGN (meaning that "a Tribune station near you" is probably also still running it).

Spot said...

2 Broke Girls are worth the biggest price? so i guess TBS expects the show to top syndicated ratings in the future, like TBBT did ;)

it's all really expensive. do foreing broadcasters pay as much? because there is no way the system pays off in small countries.

Spot said...

I haven't really seen numbers but I would think the individual foreign deals are a small fraction of these, if for no other reason than because those other TV universes are so much smaller.

Spot said...

I realise this is an old comment on an old article, but I was wondering if you had any information on how much an overseas channel typically pays for first run rights to a US tv show. I've not been able to find any information myself but I thought you might be in the know.

Foreign popularity has been something that is becoming more important each year especially now that more and more US shows get higher viewerships in other countries, as US viewership is becoming more evenly split over huge amounts of options, while abroad the viewership is generally more centralised on a few networks eg. Homeland at one point got double the US total viewership in the UK, despite having a much smaller population.

Along these lines: cable shows often get pre-sold particularly to UK networks, and I wonder if it affects the casting, as shows seem to be more commonly casting famous actors from Europe and such shows seem to be the ones pre-sold around the world eg. Fargo casts Martin Freeman and gets pre-sold to channel 4 in the UK, Hannibal casts Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikklesen and gets shown worldwide, Homeland with Damien Lewis is very popular in the Uk etc.

Spot said...

I've got nothing. Sorry!

Spot said...

If you're still interested in this information, Deadline reported that Bob's Burgers went for $500,000/ep

Spot said...

Thanks! Also added New Girl, Person of Interest, Elementary.

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