×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS and Imagine Team Up on First Look TV Deal

CBS Corporation and Imagine TV Studios have partnered on a new, four-year first look and co-financing deal for scripted and unscripted television and long-form digital programming, Variety has learned.

Under the terms of the deal, Imagine will partner with CBS to produce programming for CBS TV, CBS All Access and Showtime. CBS’ platforms will get a first look at new Imagine series, with CBS’ studio arm, CBS Television Studios, serving as production partner and worldwide distributor for any shows produced under the deal.

Imagine will retain distribution rights in certain Asian territories, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

The announcement comes on the heels of Imagine’s recent independent $100 million co-financing deal with TVB Ventures for the development and production of TV projects. In February 2016, Imagine also received a $100 million investment from Raine Group.

“I am so excited for this partnership with Les [Moonves], someone I deeply respect and admire, and with whom I share a decades-long friendship,” said Brian Grazer, chairman of Imagine. “For the past 30 years, the hallmark of Imagine’s success has been in cultivating storytellers to create aspirational, exciting and unique films and television series. We intend to sign exclusive overall deals with inventive talent, including writers and filmmakers, to create a modern content studio that values collaboration with autonomy.”

Imagine had been partnered with 20th Century Fox for fifteen years. Now flush with financing, Imagine now has greater flexibility, with the goal of owning a greater share of the shows they produce. This deal allows for greater ownership than a traditional overall deal, because they’re going to bring their own financing to bear.

“I’ve been friends with Brian for 30 years; he is one of the true creative geniuses in our business,” said Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS. “I have long admired the company that he and Ron built, as well as the consistent artistry of their work. Imagine Television series always stand out for their quality, creativity and ability to connect with audiences. This agreement aligns our broadcast, pay cable and streaming businesses with a best-in-class partner, and represents another strategic opportunity to own and distribute more content across a dynamic television landscape.”

Imagine’s TV roster includes Fox’s “Empire,” Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” and NatGeo’s “Genius,” “Mars” and “Breakthrough.” The studio also recently inked screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”) to a first look deal for scripted series.

More TV

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Jan. 21, 2019: 'Rent: Live,' 'Celebrity Big Brother'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rent: Live” airs on Fox and “Celebrity Big Brother” returns for a second [...]

  • Black Monday: How Showtime Dusted Off

    'Black Monday': How Showtime Dusted Off An Old '80s Logo For Its New Comedy

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, but you’re not seeing things: That, indeed is Showtime’s old 1980s-era logo pasted all over marketing materials and promos for “Black Monday,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of the excesses exhibited by Wall Street traders in the lead-up to the stock market crash of 1987. The logo, which hasn’t been in [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Review

    TV Review: 'Russian Doll'

    This is a particularly tricky review to write, but not because the merits of “Russian Doll” are at all ambiguous. On the contrary, the show is so striking and smart that I made a note to include it on my favorite TV shows of 2019 immediately after blowing through the season — which is saying [...]

  • Black Earth Rising Review

    TV Review: 'Black Earth Rising'

    Bringing to bear a talented cast on a story of real geopolitical significance, “Black Earth Rising,” Netflix’s drama about the long-tail aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, would seem to have had the potential to be one of 2019’s early television successes. Which makes its falling short all the more painful and pronounced. The show, previously [...]

  • DIRTY JOHN -- "This Young Woman

    'Dirty John' Finale Hits New Ratings Highs in Live+3

    The Season 1 finale of “Dirty John” on Bravo continued the scripted show’s ratings hot streak in Live+3. The finale, which aired on Jan. 13, grew to 3.3 million viewers in delayed viewing with 1.3 million of those falling in the key adults 18-49 demographic. That is up 10% in total viewers and 15% in [...]

  • Sky and Warner Bros. Alums Join

    Sky and Warner Bros. Alums Join ITV-Backed Production Company Possessed

    Former Sky One and Sky Living programming chief Adam MacDonald has joined Possessed, and will be the ITV-owned production banner’s first chair. The U.K.-based unscripted producer has also hired Lesley Davies, former head of international production at Warner Bros. She will head up production. The double hires follow a recommission  of gameshow “5 Gold Rings,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content