Oxygen and Turner Broadcasting are closing in on shared cable rights to Grey's Anatomy, Reuters reported earlier today.
Oxygen will also get another window, starting earlier than the off-net rights, giving the channel a weekly repeat of an episode from past seasons.
The sale will conclude one of the most anticipated and complicated cable syndication deals of recent memory, shutting out unsuccessful efforts to obtain rights by both Lifetime and ABC Family. Sources say Buena Vista accepted bids more than a month ago, but negotiations were enlongated by the relatively new and touchy issue of assigning rights to digital platforms.
Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution recently cut a precedent-setting deal with that gave selected stations the ability to stream episodes on their respective websites. Buena Vista has yet to sell Grey's to local stations, and details of the deal still are coming together. But Oxygen is not wasting any time, and is expected to start airing repeat episodes from Seasons 1-2 as early as this January.For Oxygen, snaring the show would be a huge but expensive score, amounting to what might be the biggest syndication deal in the channel's history. The network typically ends up as an also-ran when vying for highly coveted off-network product, but a hunky cast, soap-like plots and medical drama made Grey's the perfect fit for the female-targeted network.
At TNT, Grey's Anatomy likely would join a stacked daytime lineup already featuring ER, Charmed and Law & Order.
The price estimates for the show, which garnered 20 million viewers per episode by the end of last season and secured 11 Emmy nominations? Just around $1 million per episode. Oxygen is believed to be doling out about $700,000 per episode and Turner picking up the rest of these steep medical bills. Hopefully they have insurance!