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The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise is one of the most lucrative TV properties in the world and is guaranteed to continue, now that CBS will have a new partner to help with half of the show’s cost. Content Partners has stepped in to buy a Goldman Sachs-run company’s interest in the franchise.
According to The New York Times, Goldman’s GS Capital Partners had been financing half of the show since it bought Canadian producer Alliance Atlantis in 2007. Since GS Capital recently sold Alliance to Canada’s Entertainment One, it no longer had an interest in continuing to finance CSI, so it sold its stake to Content Partners.
The terms of the deal weren’t released, but Variety’s sources say that bids reached as high as $400 million in December.
Content Partners will also own the production company revenue from reruns. All three CSI shows - the original, the now-cancelled CSI: Miami and CSI: New York - have reached a combined 724 episodes and are aired all around the world. CSI was the most-watched show in the world last year, a distinction it has held in five of the past seven years.
CSI is currently in its 13th season and still gets the best numbers among the broadcast networks on Wednesday nights. CSI: NY currently airs on Fridays, but it's rumored to be in its last season.
“CBS has one of the industry’s best distribution platforms, and has made a strong commitment to aggressively distributing and leveraging the CSI franchise across all media,” Content Partners CEO Steven H. Kram told Variety. “Content distribution channels, both traditional and digital, are rapidly expanding and as developing countries come on line, distribution of CSI will continue to grow.”
CBS hasn’t commented on the sale.