NBC scores big bucks per episode

LONDON — The BBC is believed to have paid at least £400,000 ($788,000) an episode for exclusive U.K. TV rights to the second season of acclaimed NBC show “Heroes” — agreeing to a deal before it has transmitted season one.

The pubcaster outbid a rival British broadcaster for the rights. The Beeb last week refused to pay some $200,000 an episode for seasoned Oz soap “Neighbours” following bad-tempered negotiations with FremantleMedia.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the BBC paid more than £450,000 an episode for ‘Heroes’,” said an industry insider.

“I am told that was what another channel was prepared to pay.”

The BBC declined to indicate how much it had forked out. “We never comment on money,” said a spokeswoman.

“I can confirm that we have bought all U.K. TV rights to the second season of ‘Heroes,’” she added. “And that we will be broadcasting the series on BBC2 and 3.”

Season one of “Heroes” has already aired on the U.K. Sci Fi Channel, where it achieved cult status, and the BBC will run the skein this summer on BBC2.

Under the terms of the new contract, the BBC will have first call on season two of “Heroes,” which it may then sell on to a nonterrestrial channel.

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