In a major programming acquisition coup, A&E will exclusively air
episodes from CBS's popular drama series CSI: Miami over the next three
years as part of a multi-million dollar "early syndication" window deal with
series distributor King World.
The deal is a bit of a risk for A&E considering the series, currently the
highest rated new dramatic series on broadcast television, only has one year
under its belt.
But network executives believe CSI: Miami will provide a major ratings boost
to the network, which has experienced a precipitous drop in ratings over the 18
In first quarter 2003, the network averaged a 1.0 rating, down 9 percent from
the same period in 2003.
A&E will have access to episodes from the first two
seasons of CSI: Miami
- assuming the freshman show completes a sophomore season -- beginning in fall
2004 at a price of more than $100,000 an episode, according to sources close to
Sources said the network beat out several other competitors for the rights,
including USA Network and Turner Network Television, as well as TNN, which holds
cable rights to the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series.
A&E general manager Abbe Raven said the network has not decided whether
the show will air in prime time.
Raven predicted CSI: Miami, would generate "above average" prime-time ratings
for A&E, while more importantly delivering upscale, adult 25-54 viewers.
"It's a powerful franchise and has done very well," Raven said. "It has
fabulous demographics and is a compliment to the upscale audience that we