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Lifetime Will Meet ‘Mother’ In 2010

Lifetime has gained exclusive cable rights to CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, beginning in 2010.

The multiyear deal with Twentieth Television will enable cable’s leading women’s network to strip the show weekdays in primetime in the fall of 2010, while also giving it the right to a pair of weekly encore plays from the show’s first three seasons, starting early next year.

Deal terms were not disclosed, but published reports put Lifetime’s outlay at some $82 million, or about $800,000 per episode. A number of cable networks, including TBS, Comedy Central, ABC Family and FX, were said to be in the bidding for the series, which began its fourth season on CBS Monday night. Twentieth also retains a trio of 30-second barter spots in the Lifetime runs.

According to sources familiar with the negotiations, Lifetime will be able to strip the show, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor, Jason Segal and Alyson Hannigan, in primetime. However, it will not be able to run opposite CBS’s airings. Black Rock currently schedules the show Mondays at 8:30 p.m.

“How I Met Your Mother is a perfect fit for the new direction of our comedy programming,” said Lifetime Networks executive vice president of entertainment JoAnn Alfano in a statement. “This is a truly hilarious and genuine water-cooler show, with sharp writing and a talented cast. It will be a fantastic addition to our 2010 schedule.”

Although it will have cable exclusivity, Lifetime will not be alone in presenting the show in syndication. Twentieth has struck deals with the Fox owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as CBS O-and-Os in Philadelphia, Boston and Dallas. It also inked a pact with Hearst-Argyle Television's KQCA in Sacramento, the My9Network affiliate. 

Station time slots have not been determined at this stage, but they will likely run the show in late-fringe or access, according to sources.