Universal Channel Acquires ‘NCIS’ From CBS Studios International

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EXCLUSIVE: NCIS continues to be a big seller for CBS Studios International. Sources tell me that Universal Channel has closed a deal with the distributor to acquire the CBS’ procedural series. I hear that the deal is for multiple seasons of the show. There is no word yet on when the series will launch on Universal Channel, with insiders giving only a vague time-frame of “this Summer.”

A spin-off of the long-running series JAG, NCIS was created by Donald P. Bellisario & Don McGill and follows a team of investigators working for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Major Case Response Team, which is led by veteran Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The drama series, which was recently renewed for an eleventh season, is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Mark Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, Sean Murray, Cote de Pablo, Lauren Holly and Brian Dietzen.

NCIS remains one of CBS Studios International’s strongest selling series and has well and truly established itself as a global show as it now airs in over 200 countires. This also marks CBSSI’s fourth sale for the series in the UK. The distribution arm of CBS Television Studios has previously sold the first-window rights to NCIS to Fox International Channels UK (initially for FX289 now FOX UK) in a life-of-series deal back in late 2003, ahead of the channel’s launch in January 2004, and has subsequently sold the series to both Channel 5 and CBS Action.

This is also the latest acquisition for the Universal Networks International owned Universal Channel. The pay TV channel has recently acquired the exclusive first-window UK rights to Canadian drama series Motive and A&E’s Bates Motel. Universal Channel is also home to a number of first run series in the UK, including TNT’s Major Crimes and USA Network’s Psych & Royal Pains. The channel was also previously home to A&E’s drama series Breakout Kings, however, Universal dropped the series after one season due to low ratings.