ION & WGN America Acquire Off-Network Rights To CBS Drama ‘Blue Bloods’

Another CBS procedural drama is headed to off-network syndication. Following the recent deals for CBS’ Person Of Interest, distributed by Warner Bros., and Elementary, distributed by CBS Domestic Television, the network’s Blue Bloods, also from CBS TV Distribution, is landing off-network pacts. I’ve learned that CBS TV Distribution is finalizing a three-prong multi-platform syndication sale for the cop/family drama starring Tom Selleck. It includes a pact with ION for the broadcast syndication rights, a deal with WGN America, which has purchased basic cable rights, and a pending deal with an SVOD partner. I hear ION is getting exclusive rights to air the series in primetime and will share with WGN outside of primetime. Blue Bloods is expected to launch in syndication later this year, after its current fourth season wraps on CBS. On ION, Blue Bloods will join a primetime slate built on crime dramas, including CBS’ Criminal Minds, which has been particularly successful, two series that aired on CBS, Cold Case and Flashpoint, along with Law & Order: CI. WGN has been very aggressive in its first year under new management, snapping up off-network dramas in addition to building an original series slate. WGN acquired both POI and Elementary, and will now share Blue Bloods. In its fourth season, Blue Bloods is averaging 14 million viewers (most current), up +7% from last year. This past Friday, the show hit a season high in total viewers, drawing its largest audience since its series premiere. The multi-plaform sale of Blue Bloods follows a similar model as the multi-tier deal CBS TV Distribution made last year for CBS drama The Good Wife, which involved two SVOD partners, Amazon and Hulu; a basic cable network, Hallmark Channel; and broadcast syndication.

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