NCIS: New Orleans ‘will make $5m per ep’

NCIS New OrleansNew CBS procedural NCIS: New Orleans is set to make the company “north of probably US$5 million an episode before the show even goes on the air” – not including advertising – largely thanks to international business.

This follows a “huge international deal” for the show, CBS COO and principal financial officer Joseph Ianniello said during an investors’ call yesterday.

Further detail was not forthcoming, but CBS Studios International did secure a major extension to its output deal with French broadcaster M6 in June.

NCIS: New Orleans is the latest installment of the ultra-successful NCIS franchise that was this week again crowned as the most-watched drama in the world. It stars Scott Bakula as the head of small naval crimes bureau. It premeires next month in the US on September 23.

Further to that, CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves said licensing SVOD rights for upcoming CBS drama Zoo to Netflix meant the series would be “immediately profitable” for the company.

The news came as CBS posted second quarter revenues down 14% year-on-year to US$3.2 billion. Profit also slipped from US$472 million to US$439 million.

Elsewhere in the call, Moonves said acquiring news network CNN was “obviously something that’s not going to happen”.

Rumours had begun circulating CBS would move for the net after 21st Century Fox began its pursuit of CNN parent Time Warner. Fox had planned to sell CNN as means of getting the deal past regulators, but the collapse of a potential deal this week has put pay to the strategy.

“The numbers [Fox] were throwing around were sort of silly, and we wouldn’t have looked at it on that basis,” he said.

CBS has also revealed a US$5 billion share buyback.