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World Poker Tour Moves to GSN

Agreeing to pay $300,000 per episode, GSN cut a deal with WPT Enterprises to bring its World Poker Tour series to the network beginning early next year.

The move came after Travel Channel, which was recently acquired by Cox Communications, decided not to renew World Poker Tour for a sixth season.

GSN will pay WPT $300,000 apiece for 23 episodes of the series, totaling $6.9 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from WPT.

GSN -- which plans to run World Poker Tour Monday nights in a gambling-themed programming block -- also agreed to spend $3 million per season on marketing support for the series.

“We will make sure people know that World Poker Tour is moving from Travel Channel to GSN,” GSN CEO Rich Cronin said in an interview. “We expect to not only bring those people to our network, but to add to that [audience].”

WPT CEO Steve Lipscomb called the move from Travel to GSN an “industry-changing event” for the wagering industry.

In addition to rights to the sixth season, GSN has options to renew World Poker Tour for a seventh and eighth season. Its license fee of $300,000 per episode would increase by 5% in each future season, according to the agreement disclosed in the SEC filing.

GSN also agreed to pay WPT bonus fees of $20,000-$35,000 per episode at the end of each season if the average Nielsen Media Research ratings of all of the premiere episodes in a season “exceed certain agreed-upon levels,” according to the filing.