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TNT Buys Syndication Rights To The Mentalist

rl_mentalistIn syndication, TV shows can last for an eternity or so producers of The Mentalist hope.

TNT just nabbed syndication rights for the Simon Baker crime drama The Mentalist, which just began its second season. It’s rumored that the show was bought for $2 million an episode which would make the series earn near an all time broadcast high though TNT nor Warner Bros. would comment on the payment.

The Mentalist has been very successful for CBS and was a break-trough hit last year. The show is currently performing very well in its time slot of Thursday 10 pm ET.

Considering the economic down-turn felt by producers, advertisers and content owners alike, The Mentalist’s sticker price is pretty shocking. Yet in 2004 Spike TV paid $1.9 million per episode for CSI: NY. USA/Bravo picked up Law & Order: Criminal Intent for just under $2 million while Criminal Minds sold around $850,000 to A&E and ION.

Created by Bruno Heller, The Mentalist stars Baker as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation. He solves crimes “using razor-sharp observation skills.” USA had interest in the show due to its “light and quirky tone” but the idea was quickly squashed because the show was too similar to the network’s in-house series Psych.

TNT, which just made news by picking up the recently canceled cop drama Southland, will add The Mentalist to its growing off-network roster that includes Without a Trace, Law & Order, CSI: NY, Bones, Angel, Charmed, Las Vegas, ER and Numb3rs. The network’s originals series include The Closer, Saving Grace, HawthoRNe, Leverage and the upcoming Men of a Certain Age.

The Mentalist is a terrific show that will be an ideal fit for TNT’s already strong lineup,” said president of Turner Entertainment Networks, Steve Koonin. “The early success of the series also indicates The Mentalist has a great future.”

Ken Werner, president, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution added: “Everyone recognized early on that The Mentalist was an A-tier drama, the kind of program that would have a profoundly positive effect on its cable licensee,” he said. “As a result, the demand for the off-network rights began almost immediately following its debut on CBS last fall and has steadily increased as the show blossomed into a true broadcast hit.”

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