Seven episodes into its first season, “NCIS: Los Angeles” has already sold the rights to air its episodes in syndication. USA, which also airs re-runs of the original “NCIS,” has bought the rights at a staggering $2 million an episode.
USA will have the right to air the show weekly beginning in Sept. 2011 and will start stripping the episode in 2013…
The unusually quick deal is testament to the popularity of the “NCIS” brand — and the ability for top cable networks to capitalize on crime procedurals in syndication. In its seventh season, “NCIS” has grown to become the most-watched drama series on broadcast, while its USA repeats are the most-watched syndicated crime drama, averaging 3.5 million viewers.
To put that in perspective, the average repeat of “NCIS” on USA draws about as many viewers as the original and highly acclaimed “Sons of Anarchy” does on its best night. And every time I realize something like that, a little piece of me regrets having ever served my country. So please, America: stop watching CBS’s recycled crime dramas, especially in syndication. Do it for the troops.