Warner Bros boss Kevin Tsujihara told investors this morning that its Worldwide Television Distribution division has also sold the off-network SVOD rights to Person Of Interest to Netflix in the United States. The first three seasons of the series, which currently airs on CBS, will be made available to subscribers in fall 2015, at the same time the series premieres off-network on WGN America.
Last summer, the studio made news that had been a long time coming when it announced all aired episodes of CBS/Warner Bros.’ drama series Person Of Interest are finally available digitally. The first two seasons of the crime drama would be made available via digital download to own through all digital retailers, including iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Back then, the series still was not available for streaming. Exec producer JJ Abrams — who had voiced frustration over POI’s unavailability, making it tough for new viewers to join the show, said with that announcement: “We are all excited that new and existing fans of Person Of Interest can finally catch up with the first two seasons.” CBS is traditionally conservative when it comes to digital exposure of their shows, with the downloading pact between the network and Warner Bros. TV for POI taking particularly long to hammer out. For comparison, Abrams/Warner Bros.’ freshman NBC drama Revolution was available both for downloads and streaming in June of ’13 when Warner Bros’ announced the POI digital deal.
This morning’s POI deal with Netflix came in the midst of a slew of TV deals Tsujihara detailed to investors. Getting the most attention: Warner Bros has licensed 236 episodes — all 10 seasons — of Friends to Netflix for the U.S. and Canada, with streaming beginning on January 1, 2015. Netflix has been making many such deals as it bulks up its offerings, and now it has a piece of the iconic series that helped NBC so dominate primetime in the ’90s — and which Jeff Zucker famously “super-sized” when he was running NBC Entertainment and the network’s Thursday primetime was trying to hang on to its No. 1 status.