Channel 5 Acquires Free-To-Air Rights To ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’

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Channel 5 is adding another entry from the NCIS franchise to their line up. The company has picked up the free-to-air rights to the first season of NCIS spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles from international distributor CBS Studios International. The show’s first season is set to premiere on Channel 5 on Friday February 28th at 10pm.

A spin-off of the long running series NCIS (itself a spin-off of JAG), NCIS: Los Angeles follows a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation’s security. The series is produced by CBS Television Studios and stars Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Linda Hunt, Barrett Foa, Eric Christian Olsen and Adam Jamal Craig.

The acquisition of NCIS: Angeles – which has already aired in the UK on BSkyB’s Sky1, who continue to hold first run rights to the series – comes after Channel 5 was faced with the prospect of losing a reliable ratings performer in the CSI franchise, which has been whittled down to only one entry, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, though there are plans for a new CSI spin-off set in the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Picking up the NCIS spin-off makes sense as the original, which Channel 5 also holds the FTA rights to, with FOX UK tied into a life-of-series deal for first run, frequently pulls in more than 1 million viewers in the overnights.

It also follows what has been a rocky time as far as acquisitions go for Channel 5. The broadcaster, currently owned by Northern & Shell, has dropped a number of first run series such as Once Upon A Time and Justified. Instead the broadcaster has focussed its resources on nabbing free-to-air rights to key series such as Longmire, Falling Skies and now NCIS: Los Angeles. C5 has not completely backed away from first run imports, however, as they still hold the rights to The Mentalist, Person Of Interest, Played, Cedar Cove, Helix and Dallas; and should the new NCIS and CSI spin-offs that CBS has in development go to series, they are expected to bid on the entries, distributed by CBS Studios International, at this year’s LA Screenings.