EXCLUSIVE: TNT Snaps Up 'Hawaii Five-0' From CBS

CBS Television Distribution has sold rookie drama Hawaii Five-0 to cable net TNT.

The market for the show was opened by a preemptive bid by an unidentified cable network, which immediately set prices at $2-plus million per episode. In the end, Hawaii Five-0 sold in the mid-$2 million range, on par with what two of the last big dramas - Warner Bros' The Mentalist and CBS' NCIS: Los Angeles - each received.

The off-net deal begins on TNT in fall 2014. The deal also includes digital rights so that TNT can provide the show on demand and online to its subscribers via Time Warner's TV Everywhere initiative.

"Hawaii Five-0 is a top-notch procedural drama that has already built a strong following," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "With its great characters, intriguing stories, smart sense of humor and explosive action, Hawaii Five-0 is an ideal fit for TNT's lineup."

Hawaii Five-0 is the latest of a string of deals in which young, successful dramas are sold to cable networks for high prices. In fall 2009, TNT bought The Mentalist during its second year on CBS for approximately $2.5 million per episode, and USA purchased NCIS: Los Angeles for a similar price after it aired on CBS just seven times. In many cases, cable networks are trying to snap up the hottest primetime shows by making preemptive bids for them, and that practice is speeding sales and driving up prices.

All three shows have strong procedural elements that repeat well, and fit the formats that have worked well for both cable networks. Prior to acquiring NCIS: LA, USA has had success with repeats of NCIS, Law & Order: SVU and House; while TNT built its brand airing such shows as Law & Order, ER and many other hour-long off-nets.

Hawaii Five-0 airs on CBS on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET, and is the top-rated rookie drama among adults 18-49. Among viewers, it trails only CBS' Blue Bloods and ABC's Body of Proof, which has only aired twice so far. Overall, Hawaii Five-0 is ranked 22nd, averaging 12 million viewers. Among adults 18-49, Hawaii Five-0 ranks 32nd, with a 3.3 rating/9 share average.

Hawaii Five-0 is an update of the original, which aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980. The show stars Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park. It's produced by K/O Paper Products and 101st Street Television in association with CBS Productions, and it was created, developed and executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, Peter M. Lenkov and Roberto Orci.

Scott Koondel, president of distribution for CBS Television Distribution and senior vice president of licensing and distribution for CBS Corp., brokered the deal for CBS. Linda Yaccarino, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Entertainment Ad Sales/Marketing and Acquisitions, led TNT's team. Neither could be reached for comment.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.