In a surprise deal, male-targeted networks G4 and Mojo have acquired the off-network rights to NBC's hit sci-fi drama series, Heroes.
The Comcast-owned G4, currently at 64 million subscribers, and the 7 million-subscriber Mojo high-definition channel, owned by video-on-demand content aggregator In Demand, will air episodes of Heroes the same week those installments debut on NBC, beginning Oct. 29.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Variety reported that the two parties paid a combined $300,000 per episode for off-network rights. Executives from G4, Mojo and NBC would not comment on the price paid.
NBC Universal said the agreement extends through the sixth season of the sophomore series G4 and Mojo, with the entire Heroes library available in 2010.
NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution senior vice president and general sales manager Frances Manfredi said the company is ecstatic about the deal and believes the two networks comprise the right outlets for the show despite reaching far fewer potential viewers than the 93 million-subscriber, NBC Universal-owned Sci Fi Channel, which repurposed Heroes episodes from its freshman season.
G4 will debut Heroes with a season-one marathon Oct. 27 and 28 and a mini-marathon of the first six episodes of season two on Nov. 3. Mojo will kick-off its telecasts of Heroes Nov. 1, with airings of the first six episodes of season two.
Heroes will then air on Mojo every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Mojo will also air a marathon of season-one episodes during the Thanksgiving holiday, said In Demand CEO Robert Jacobson.
G4 will also present a live, half-hour Heroes wrap-up show immediately following each regularly-scheduled episode. The Post Show, premiering Nov. 3, will feature multiple interactive and Web-enabled elements, including live chats and polls, exclusive interviews with cast and crew members and tips on what to look for in upcoming episodes.
G4 has also obtained exclusive cable rights to stream the first season's episodes on the network's popular Web site, G4tv.com. G4 will also have free VOD rights for Heroes episodes in 2010, according to G4 president Neal Tiles.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.