GSN Ready to Host World Poker Tour

Apr 5, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With Travel Channel folding its World Poker Tour hand, the show has set up new stakes at GSN.

The game-themed cable network will pay WPT Enterprises $300,000 per episode for next year’s 23-episode sixth season, according to WPT’s securities filing.

That’s a drop from the roughly $500,000 per episode paid by Travel Channel, which was recently acquired by Cox. But Steve Lipscomb, founder, president and CEO of WPT, told TelevisionWeek there are other elements of the deal that make up for that drop, such as GSN spending $3 million to market the series. Also, the network purchased only the English-speaking rights to the show, freeing up WPT to try and develop the format in foreign territories.

WPT will air on Monday nights, same as GSN’s current poker hit “High Stakes Poker,” which last week was renewed for a fourth season.

The agreement brings to a close the WPT’s mutually beneficial yet often acrimonious relationship with Travel Channel.

The Discovery-owned network took a chance on the televised poker series in 2003 and it quickly became the most popular show on the network. But a dispute over ownership of WPT spinoff “Professional Poker Tour” resulted in WPT suing the network in 2004. Meanwhile, Travel Channel executives began to increasingly feel the show was off-brand for the channel.

By the time the parties settled in 2006, poker ratings on cable had leveled off and Travel Channel decided to not renew the series.

(Editor: Horowitz)