Show breathes ‘Life’ into Spanish TV

Drama delivers ratings victory to Telecinco

MADRID  — “Life” has made the best bow in Spain of any Hollywood skein this season.

Aired Monday primetime on broadcast network Telecinco from Feb. 16, “Life’s” first three segs won their timeslot, with 21.6% and 4.15 million viewers, 20.2% and 3.9 million, and 22.9% and 4.5 million. Telecinco’s February channel share was 14.9%.

Only two veteran U.S. skeins beat “Life” — “CSI: New York” (20.7% to 24.5% over February)  and “CSI Las Vegas,” (23.5% on Monday).

“Life” mixes procedurals and quirky character drama, a blend Spaniards appreciate in “House,” and another freshman, “The Mentalist.”

Thanks to “CSI,” Telecinco has established a lock on Spanish Monday primetime. “Life” is led in by “CSI New York” or “Las Vegas,” maintaing Telecinco’s Monday night as appointment TV for slick, self-contained procedurals. 

Telecinco took a chance on “Life,” which replaced season six of “CSI Miami.”

“Because of the writers’ strike, we were delivered less ‘CSI’ episodes. So we substituted one of the seasons,” said Telecinco head of acquisitions, Ghislain Barrois.

Telecinco still has the seventh series of “CSI Miami” in the hopper.

And, punching those numbers, “Life” is superbly cost-effective. U.S. skeins sell to Spain for a tenth or less of the per-seg e300,000 to e700,000 ($380,000 to $900,000) production tab for domestic series.

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