TNT Acquires Off-Network Rights To 'Castle'

UPDATED: In the second high-profile drama off-network sale this year following TNT’s recent acquisition of Hawaii Five-0, TNT has picked up the rights to ABC’s crime dramedy Castle, which is heading into its fourth season in the fall. The first 2 seasons of series starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic will begin airing on TNT in the summer 2012 and will also be available online through TV Everywhere. The license fee for Castle, sold by Disney-ABC Domestic TV, is said to be in the $1.5 million per episode range, less than what TNT recently agreed to pay for CBS’ freshman Hawaii Five-0, just north of $2 million. (Ironically, Castle started beating Hawaii in the ratings towards the end of the season as the two shows faced off in the Monday 10 PM slot.). In 2009, TNT also shelled out a little over $2 million an episode for CBS’ The Mentalist, which recently launched in the 7-9 PM slot on the cable network. But I hear that the deals for The Mentalist and Hawaii are exclusive, while the Castle pact is non-exclusive, allowing ABC to add to its off-network haul with a weekend broadcast syndication sale. With its setup, a handsome, quirky male consultant paired with a hot, no-nonsense female detective, The Mentalist and Castle seem like good potential companions. They also both look more like USA, not TNT shows, but they may be too close to USA’s own brand of light dramas with quirky central characters. Castle centers on Richard Castle (Fillion) – a famous mystery novelist and divorced father with a writers block who found inspiration in NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Katic), a bright and aggressive homicide detective. While not a breakout hit, Castle has been slowly but steadily building in the ratings and enjoys strong fan following.

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