×

BET Embraces ‘Scandal’ with Off-Network Pact for ABC Drama

Cabler to run new episodes of Kerry Washington hit eight days after network premiere

BET has picked up rerun rights to ABC’s political sudser “Scandal” in a deal that will give the cabler early access to new episodes from the show’s upcoming third season.

Starting this fall, BET will run “Scandal” segs eight days after they premiere on ABC. The cabler will have off-network rights to the Kerry Washington starrer’s first two seasons starting in fall 2014.

BET also plans a special marathon run of “Scandal’s” first two seasons in August to help promote the launch of the new season in the fall.

ABC’s deal with BET will pad the Mouse House’s bottom line on the drama produced by ABC Studios and exec produced by the Alphabet’s resident drama hitmaker Shonda Rhimes. “Scandal,” which revolves around a high-powered Washington PR maven who is having an affair with the President, blossomed into a bona fide hit for ABC during its second season.

ABC has already set a Netflix syndication deal for “Scandal,” which means the additional BET licensing coin will probably push the new episodes into profit (or at least break-even) from the outset of the season. That’s a welcome turnaround from just a few years ago when heavily serialized programs were out of favor with studios because they rarely brought in big syndication dollars from traditional off-network buyers.

ABC’s arrangement with BET is reminiscent of repurposing pacts that broadcast nets inked with cablers a few years ago, before digital platforms became players for off-network rights to hot primetime series. “Scandal” is a natural fit with the BET aud given the African-American cabler’s push to expand its profile with scripted programming.

“ ‘Scandal’ is a cultural phenomenon that has resonated with viewers for the past two seasons and we’re excited to be part of its continued journey,” said BET Networks chairman Debra Lee.

More TV

  • Banijay Close to Securing Deal for

    Banijay Close to Securing Deal for Endemol Shine

    Banijay Group is on the verge of sealing a deal for production and distribution powerhouse Endemol Shine, sources tell Variety. Vivendi-backed Banijay and Endemol Shine’s joint owners, Disney and Apollo, are understood to have scheduled a meeting for Thursday after talks accelerated in recent days, with Banijay now on the brink of finally closing a [...]

  • Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay

    Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay in the U.K. and Ireland

    Discovery is making a free-streaming play in the U.K. and Ireland with the launch of Dplay. The ad-supported service launches this week. It will be programmed with content from Discovery’s bouquet of free-TV channels in the U.K., which includes Quest, Food Network, and former UKTV brands Really and Home. The lineup of launch titles includes: [...]

  • Joseph Mawle

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Casts 'Game of Thrones' Alum Joseph Mawle

    Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series has cast Joseph Mawle in a main role, Variety has confirmed with sources. Mawle joins previously announced cast members Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh. Official details of Mawle’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say he will play a villain named Oren. Amazon declined to comment. Reps [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content