Sony Pictures TV‘s breakout drama The Blacklist is looking to join the elite handful of series that have been sold into off-network syndication in their first season on the air. The studio is putting together a pitch to cable networks and broadcast stations and has begun running ads in preparation for taking the NBC series out to buyers, which has not started yet. The Blacklist is a successful new broadcast procedural drama, which has been a rare breed during the past five years as the networks have gravitated toward more serialized fare. It would also be a rare non-franchise drama to sell in syndication in its freshman year. The two recent dramas to sell that quickly were CBS TV Studios’ NCIS: LA — a spinoff from a proven off-network procedural, NCIS — which sold to USA seven weeks into its run, and Hawaii Five-0, also a recognizable title being a remake of a popular cop drama, which was sold to TNT in April of the series’ first season.
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The Blacklist is NBC’s flagship scripted series and already has been renewed for a second season. The drama, which airs behind The Voice on Mondays, has been averaging a 4.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million total viewers in most current ratings, only one-tenth behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy in the race for the No.1 broadcast drama in 18-49 and network TV’s third-most-watched drama behind CBS’ NCIS and NCIS: LA. Both Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: LA fetched cable license fees north of $2 million, a threshold that The Blacklist likely will cross as well. With CBS sophomore Elementary recently netting off-network sales and The Blacklist on its way, NBC’s Chicago Fire remains the only broadcast procedural introduced the last couple of seasons yet to pursue a syndie pact.
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