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GSN Races Into Summer

As expected, GSN has acquired rights to the first seven installments of the King World-distributed CBS reality show The Amazing Race, and the yet-to-air eighth (more than 100 hours), with options to pick up the next two editions.

GSN licensed the show through the end of 2009. Its executives are touting each Race episode as a stand-alone since each has a winner and loser, although each season is a continuing-arc storyline with an ultimate winner at the end.

VH1 earlier this week signed a deal for UPN’s Top Model for around $75,000 an episode.

GSN will air each season in its entirety, seven nights a week, beginning July 11. The show will get prime placement at 9 and serve as a lead-in to originals. GSN will also run Race marathons throughout the year.

The network is making the show a part of its upfront sell to advertisers and will launch its biggest marketing campaign ever around the show, buying spot and national cable in the top 20 markets,in addition to radio, online, print, and outdoor.

Race marks GSN’s first acquisition of a currently airing prime time series (previous prime purchases include The Mole and Average Joe, both reportedly for around $20,000 an episode).

The seventh installment of Race averaged about 8 million viewers an episode on CBS – up from around 6 million the first season. GSN averaged 260,000 total viewers in prime in May, down 10% from a year ago.