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USA Adds NCIS: Los Angeles to its Roster

rl_ncislaIn a surprising move, USA Network has just purchased syndication rights for CBS’ new drama NCIS: Los Angeles. The series debuted just seven weeks ago. NCIS: Los Angeles will join the original NCIS. The original show is proving to be a success for the cabler. USA will pay around $1.9 million per episode and the series will be making its cable debut in the fall of 2011.

Cable networks are sometimes known for taking gambles on spin-off shows with a proven history. CSI: Miami was purchased during its first-year run and in the case of CSI: NY, the drama was sold into syndication during its debut year in 2004 to Spike TV. The show was purchased a couple months after its debut for a then-record of $1.9 million. The Mentalist was just sold to TNT for a staggering $2 million per episode deal.

In its seventh season, NCIS has become one of the most-watched drama series on TV. Ratings for NCIS: Los Angeles have been consistently strong in its Tuesday night slot.

NCIS: Los Angeles centers around the world of the Office of Special Projects, “a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation’s security.” Chris O’Donnell stars as special agent “G” Callen, a “chameleon who infiltrates the criminal underworld.”  O’Donnell stars opposite LL Cool J as Sam Hannais, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and “a surveillance expert who uses state of the art monitoring equipment to look out for those in the field and feed them critical data.”

“We’re thrilled about this unprecedented opportunity to acquire a great show after just seven episodes of instant broadcast popularity,” said Jane Blaney, USA executive vice president, program acquisitions and scheduling. “NCIS: Los Angeles is the perfect complement to NCIS, which has performed amazingly well for USA as the year’s No. 1 off-net series on cable.”

Other notable crime drama sales: Law & Order: SVU going to USA for $1.5 million, Without a Trace to TNT for $1.4 million and CSI going to Spike for $1.6 million.

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