This is an odd pairing — Don Draper and Horatio Caine will now be on the same network! In its first off-network acquisition, AMC, home of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, has picked up off-network rights to CBS’ veteran procedural CSI: Miami. The deal with CBS Television Distribution, said to be worth tens of millions of dollars, covers the existing 10 seasons of CSI: Miami as well as Seasons 11 and 12 if produced. (Today’s deal certainly increases the chances of the show continuing on CBS beyond the current 10th season). With the exception of Seasons 11 and 12, which AMC would get exclusively, the pact is non-exclusive. A&E, which had been the exclusive cable home of CSI: Miami, will continue to air the show from 6 AM-4 PM. AMC is getting fringe and primetime rights with a 4 PM-6 AM window. The drama starring David Caruso will make its debut on AMC on January 2 at 5 PM and will air in the hour Monday through Friday.
CSI: Miami has strong brand recognition as part of the hugely popular CSI franchise and is one of the most-watched series in the world. As a procedural, it also is highly repeatable, which is key for cable networks looking for ways to enhance their lineups. As an hourlong, CSI: Maimi also will give AMC flexibility scheduling-wise. So far, the network has been able to complement its original series only with movies, which are harder to schedule because of their varying length. Still, CSI: Miami, a meat-and-potatoes procedural that has never been nominated for major awards, seems like an odd companion to AMC’s lineup of acclaimed originals. Additionally, it is interesting that in its evolution, AMC is taking a direction opposite to the conventional one. Most cable networks start with off-network product and gradually expand into originals; AMC established itself as a strong original series player before venturing into off-network acquisitions.