TVBizwire

Report: CBS Close to Acquiring Half of Cable Network THR

Looks like CBS is close to acquiring half of a cable network that's in about 80 million U.S. homes.

"As soon as next week, Lionsgate is expected to close a deal to sell about half of TVGN, formerly known as the TV Guide Network, to CBS," writes Alex Ben Block in The Hollywood Reporter.

Block continues, "It marks a change in strategy for the mini-major, which set out more than a year ago to sell all of the cable network."

The story also says, "The deal also apparently includes TVGuide.com, which has shown growth by adding strong content and will fit with other CBS digital properties. The TV Guide magazine is owned separately by Open Gate Capital and will not be part of the deal with CBS."

The article adds, "Lionsgate and CBS declined to comment on the transaction, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the price CBS is paying for 50 percent – about $100 million -- is less than half of what Lionsgate paid for the entire TV Guide Network in early 2009 -- $250 million."

The story also notes, "CBS gets a network now seen in about 80 million American TV homes. It started out as a barker channel that was mostly a scroll of listings, with ads and infomercials playing on top. Now it carries older shows like 'Ugly Betty' and 'Who’s the Boss' as well as original series such as 'Celebrity Style Story.'

"As of January, only about 12 percent of the homes where it plays still had listings as well as video content on the screen. The rest see a full screen of content that includes movies, series, specials and some infomercials."

We urge you to click on the link in the first paragraph, above, and read Block's entire insightful piece.