GSN pays ‘Race’ price

Game cabler wins 'Amazing' reality skein

GSN will spend more than $6 million for exclusive off-net rights to “The Amazing Race.”

As expected (Daily Variety, June 1), cabler has bought four-year licensing terms for 110 episodes of “Race” — repping seasons one through eight, with options for future editions — at a cost of $55,000 an episode.

GSN and King World, which is distributing the show, declined to comment on licensing fees, but in a conference call with the press Wednesday morning, GSN prexy-CEO Rich Cronin described the acquisition as “more expensive than we expected, but worth every cent.”

Deal follows the off-net pacts for broadcast reality shows “Survivor,” which went to OLN for $10 million, and “America’s Next Top Model” and “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” which went to VH1 for about $6 million (Daily Variety, June 6).

GSN programming chief Ian Valentine said beginning July 11, cabler will strip the series (starting with seasons one through five) seven days a week at 9 p.m. (with repeats at midnight). Seasons six and seven will premiere in September. And season eight, which has not yet bowed on CBS, will premiere next year.

“Race” is the first acquisition cabler has made for a show still in firstrun episodes on broadcast.

“We believe this show is a game-changer for GSN,” Valentine said. “It’s one of the highest-quality shows on TV … and it’s a building hit on CBS. Season seven was more successful than season one, which was also very successful.”

Skein also works as a brand builder for GSN, “the network for games,” Valentine said. “If you look at the demos of the show, over 50% are in the 25-54 range with somewhat more female draw. That falls precisely into GSN’s audience profile, so it’s a great match for what we’re promising to our advertisers.”

Execs said they will launch a massive marketing effort tied to the premiere of the show, which GSN will use to lead in to its original programming.

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