"Criminal Minds", "Numb3rs" add up in syndication

CBS Television Distribution’s has sold weekend runs of Criminal Minds and Numb3rs into syndication on station groups representing CBS, Gannett, Belo, Meredith, and Cox.

Here in Chicago, CBS-owned WBBM-TV will begin carrying the syndicated weekend runs of both crime drama series, beginning in September 2010. They replace the two current CSI shows in syndication: New York and Miami.

Minds was sold to A&E for $650,000 per episode and to ION for $175,000 per week, beginning next year. Both outlets have the exclusive Monday-Friday rights to air the show.

Criminal Minds has done very well for CBS against tough competition – particularly Lost – in the last few years, while Numb3rs (a weird spelling, I know) has always been a reliable performer for CBS on Friday night.

Criminal Minds features the ultimate rarity – a show produced jointly by two competing networks – Disney’s ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television (Minds was co-produced by Touchstone Television before its name changed to ABC Studios in 2006.) CBS owns the home video rights in North America while Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment owns those same rights in Europe.

Another example of split-ownership of a series by two networks is Little House on the Prairie. Though NBC Universal owns the underlying rights to the 1974-83 series (including home video), the program’s syndication rights are owned by CBS in the United States – a result of Viacom’s purchase of Worldvision Enterprises in 1999, Little House’s former distributor. Worldvision acquired the syndicated rights from NBC in the late 1970’s, as the major networks weren’t allowed to sell shows to syndication at the time because of fin-syn.

Worldvision was spun-off from ABC Films in 1973.