WGN America Grabs Exclusive Cable Rights to 'Elementary'

WGN America has acquired CBS’ Elementary in a deal that's exclusive to cable.

Subscription vide on demand and broadcast syndication deals are still in the works, but when all is said and done the show is expected to reap a record-setting $3-plus million an episode, which would be the most ever by an off-broadcast drama, according to sources.

CBS is coming off of several big deals, including Tuesday's agreement to extend its licensing to Amazon Instant Prime. Late last October, CBS sold Showtime's Dexter to Netflix for approximately $1.8 million an episode.

No premiere date has been determined for WGN America, but Elementary won't debut on Tribune's cable network until three seasons of the show have aired on CBS. The third season of the show, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, debuts on CBS this fall.

Elementary is a smart, high-quality series that has been a strong performer for CBS since it premiered,” said Scott Koondel, CBS Corp.’s chief corporate licensing officer, who orchestrated the deal as well as the Amazon extension and the sale of Dexter. “We’re confident it will be the latest in CBS’s deep pipeline of dramas to make its mark in off-network cable syndication as well.”

Elementary is a first-rate drama and terrific addition to the lineup of compelling content that is redefining WGN America,” said Matt Cherniss, president and general manager of Tribune Studios, in a statement. “It’s a perfect complement to our recent off-network acquisition, Person of Interest, and we’re excited to be the exclusive syndicated home for this great show.”

In its second season on CBS, Elementary has averaged 12 million viewers and is ranked fourth among all primetime programs in live-plus-seven viewer lift, averaging a 4.15 million viewer increase over its live+plus-same day average. Elementary is produced by CBS Television Studios and executive produced by Rob Doherty, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman and Craig Sweeny.