The highest bidder

The Beeb ponies up for CBS Par's '3 LBS'

The BBC has nabbed U.K. terrestrial rights to CBS Paramount TV’s Stanley Tucci starrer “3 LBS” for a reputed £300,000 ($540,000) an episode, despite last year’s government warning to the pubcaster to stay out of bidding wars for expensive foreign imports.

The 13-part drama, which also stars British thesp Indira Varma, is will air on flagship web BBC1 this year after it goes out on CBS.

These days it is unusual for the pubcaster to air a U.S. acquisition on BBC1, where home-produced shows rule the roost.

Terrestrial webs ITV and Five plus satcaster BSkyB bid for the drama about neurosurgeons.

A BBC spokeswoman declined to confirm the price tag but said it was “substantially less” than the $700,000 suggested by rival bidders.

To keep costs down, the pubcaster is sub-licensing the show to UKTV, the paybox it co-owns with Flextech.

Last year the BBC was warned by the British government to not to bid for expensive foreign imports, “except where it is clear that no other terrestrial broadcaster would show all the programs or films in question, or that the acquisition would clearly contribute to a public purpose.”

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