Disney-ABC makes bulky deal with networks
“Lost” will soon be found on G4 and Sci Fi Channel.Cablers have pacted with Disney-ABC Domestic Television for off-net rights to all six planned seasons of ABC’s hit thriller, with segs scheduled to begin airing next September. G4 will have Monday-Friday strip rights to the show (along with some weekend plays), while Sci Fi will air the skein Monday nights as a stack of four episodes from 7-11 p.m. It’s believed the deal will net Disney roughly $200,000 per episode, with Sci Fi’s deal accounting for some 75% of the total per-episode license fee. In what’s becoming an increasingly common component, both cablers will also be able to stream a certain number of “Lost” episodes on their respective websites. G4 will also have exclusive cable weekend rights to the series. Acquisition of “Lost” reps the second major off-net purchase by G4 in recent weeks. It’s also locked up both repurposing and syndie rights to NBC’s “Heroes.” G4 prexy Neal Tiles said both skeins are slam dunks for his net, which targets men 18-34. “The stars aligned for us in terms of their availability and our ability to pursue them,” he told Daily Variety. “It’s not easy to find shows that perfectly align with your audience’s taste.” Tiles said G4 will air an unedited version of “Lost,” as well as a modified “2.0” version of the skein featuring interactive and Web-based elements. G4 has previously offered similarly enhanced versions of skeins including “Star Trek” and “Cops.” Indeed, when Disney pitched “Lost” to G4, “They told us that the executive producers of the show had seen what we’d done with ‘2.0’ before and thought it was the perfect application for ‘Lost,'” Tile said. “That really caught my attention and made (‘Lost’) a lot more interesting for us.” “Lost” will also give G4 another platform on which to launch its expanded offering of scripted skeins. That includes “Code Monkeys,” the animated comedy which Tiles confirmed will be returning for another season. G4 has ordered 13 additional segs of the show. Second season will premiere April 20. Adam De La Pena (“I’m With Busey”) created and exec produces “Code Monkeys.” “It performed extremely well for us,” Tiles said. “It was pure 18-34 (in viewers).” Over at Sci Fi, senior VP of programming Thomas Vitale said “Lost” is the type of show that will benefit from Sci Fi’s “stacked” approach of offering four-episode marathons of a show once a week. “It’s an ongoing story, and I think the best lead-in for ‘Lost’ is ‘Lost,’ ” he said, calling the show one of the most notable syndie purchases ever for Sci Fi. “It’s got the quality, cultural relevance and the ratings that make it the ideal off-net show for us,” he said. “And it appeals to both our core fan base, as well as a broader audience.” And while details have yet to be worked out, Vitale called the pact’s provision allowing Sci Fi to stream segs on its websites “precedent-setting for us.” G4 and Sci Fi will also benefit from the unique scheduling pattern for future seasons of “Lost.” ABC is now planning to air original episodes between February and May, which means G4 and Sci Fi will be the exclusive TV homes of the show during the fall and early winter seasons.