U.K. terrestrial web Channel 4 has retained exclusive British rights to “Desperate Housewives” after forking out an estimated $1.5 million per episode following a bidding war with commercial giant ITV and satcaster BSkyB.
C4 declined to confirm the price, but it seems the commercial-pubcaster hybrid coughed up big bucks for seasons three and four to prevent the show from falling into the hands of a rival. Last week C4 lost “Lost” to BSkyB flagship channel Sky One, which paid around $1.6 million an episode.
“Channel 4 is likely to have paid somewhere between £500,000 and £800,000 ($937,000 and $1.5 million) an episode,” said a U.K. acquisitions head. “The real winner here is Disney, which is laughing all the way to the bank. But Channel 4 has negotiated well by not overpaying for ‘Lost’ and keeping ‘Desperate Housewives.’ ”
It is unclear how much C4 paid originally for U.K. rights to “Desperate Housewives,” but it’s a fraction of the amount the new deal cost. “You’re talking four or fives times as much as the original price,” said the acquisitions topper.
As with “Lost,” C4 had the right to match any bids made by other broadcasters for “Desperate Housewives.”