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Stalemate Dooms The Switch From CBS Series To Paramount + – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: A month ago, Clarice was about to switch from CBS to Paramount + with the promise of a long term for a premium version of the Thesilenceofthelambs after. Now, the outlook for the series looks bleak as negotiations between streamer ViacomCBS and co-producer MGM stalled, I have learned.

Moreover, I have heard that there is no viable path for Clarice to continue on CBS when the broadcast network has already committed to a full roster of series for next season. That would mean the end of the road for high-profile drama unless there is a major breakthrough in the Paramount + negotiations, which currently seems unlikely. Representatives for Paramount + and MGM declined to comment.

Industry veterans describe it as one of the craziest situations they’ve ever seen, where a show with a season 2 pickup truck faces a demise and the prospect of putting 300 people in the spotlight. unemployment. It is a branded intellectual property, Thesilenceofthelambs; a great producer, Alex Kurtzman; a recently merged company, ViacomCBS; and a merging studio, MGM, which is in the process of being acquired by Amazon.

“SEAL Team” and “Evil” officially move to Paramount +; ‘Clarice’ remains in negotiations

Depending on who you’re talking to, either MGM abruptly halted the good faith negotiations that were approaching a deal, or the studio opted out after being offered a “mediocre” deal they couldn’t. not accept.

The saga started with Clarice spending spring on the bubble at CBS, where Year One was the lowest-rated and least-watched scripted series in linear ratings. However, serialized drama, considered more suitable for streaming, performed very well on Paramount +.

On May 14, five days before CBS’s initial presentation, Deadline reported that the network’s dramas SEAL team and Clarice were heading towards Brother Paramount + (soon joined by Wrong). According to sources, MGM Television, which co-produces Clarice with CBS Studios, was informed that day of the plan to relocate the show.

I heard that there had been a lot of back-and-forth between MGM Television and Paramount + / CBS Studios over a deal between May 14 and May 21, a hectic week that included information about the imminent acquisition of MGM by Amazon (May 17), Paramount + announcing the pickup of SEAL team and Wrong (May 18) and CBS holding their lead (May 19).

However, no agreement for Clarice was reached. Each party sees the reasons differently.

According to sources close to ViacomCBS, Paramount + and CBS Studios have made most, if not all, of the concessions MGM requested in terms of commercial terms, but MGM has still not agreed to a deal. I’ve heard that the license fee for the show has gone from $ 1.2 million to $ 1.3 million per episode on CBS, where the business model is based on deficit funding, to $ 3. $ 8 million per episode on Paramount +, which as a streamer adheres to a more cost-plus model.

As with CBS, the proposed Paramount + deal is national, with MGM taking care of international sales of the series (MGM Television and CBS Studios split the revenue into 50-50 co-producers). By becoming a Paramount + original, Clarice would no longer be able to strike an off-network streaming deal in the United States, although, according to industry experts, the Paramount + license fee covers more than that.

Sources close to MGM point out that the studio considered the Clarice Lower deal offered by Paramount + than the streamer gave to the other two dramas that moved from CBS to Paramount +, both wholly owned by CBS. According to these sources, Paramount + pays a royalty that covers around 90% of SEAL team and Wrong’s fees.

I hear the offer on Clarice was to cover 78% of the budget ($ 3.6 million per episode), which, after negotiations, rose to 82% ($ 3.8 million).

Sources close to CBS say the 82% is within the standard range for a premium series, which varies from show to show based on performance data analyzed by the cable network / pay streamer. I hear Paramount + internal projection for Clarice was to break even at 78% royalty and lose money at 82%, a figure she eventually accepted.

The size of the order was also a point of contention, with Paramount + offering 10 episodes. I heard that MGM had requested a minimum guarantee of 15 episodes per season (there is a discrepancy if the request was for season 3 and beyond or from season 2).

I heard Paramount + ‘s response was that 10 episode seasons are standard on the streamer. To complicate the problem is the fact that Wrong moved from CBS to Paramount + after its second season had already been produced for airing, so it consists of 13 episodes. During this time I hear SEAL teamthe upcoming fifth season will consist of 14 episodes; the first four will first air on CBS and the other 10 will premiere on Paramount +. (The drama has been an excellent audience player on the linear network.) According to several sources, Paramount + was willing to increase the size of the order to Clarisse, but the question was not taken further.

In addition, MGM’s request to obtain a second window for Clarice on its own premium network Epix was countered by a holdback of several years on episodes. The delay in making the show’s produced seasons available on Epix was not acceptable to MGM, sources said.

I heard at the start of the negotiations that the executives of MGM Television expressed their enthusiasm at the idea of Clarice move on to streaming, where he might have a longer-term chance and the creative freedom to explore the characters and storylines without the constraints of broadcast television. After the wave of activity between the two parties and a number of concessions made, there were indications from MGM TV that a deal looked good. But it never materialized.

CBS Studios was motivated to make the deal work because Clarice comes from studio’s top producer Kurtzman. He helped create Paramount + CBS All Access predecessor with the Star Trek universe whose continuous expansion he oversees.

It is not clear who at MGM made the decision not to proceed with the Clarice deal at Paramount +. I hear the streamer was tricked into believing the pact was rejected by the board, while sources close to MGM claim the case was never taken to the board but has rather, it was reviewed by a committee within the company that oversees the licensed properties.

The talks were originally managed by senior executives from Paramount +, CBS Studios and MGM Television. When the talks stall, I hear CBS Entertainment Group President and CEO George Cheeks, CAA, who represents Kurtzman, and MGM President Kevin Ulrich, getting involved. Yet a deal remained elusive.

While the MGM-Amazon deal was announced as MGM and CBS negotiated for Clarice, the current acquisition is not believed to have played a direct role in MGM’s decision not to allow the show to switch to Paramount +, which is a competitor to Amazon’s Prime Video.

Still, Amazon’s $ 8.45 billion purchase of MGM is based on the MGM library, so the company trying to keep one of its best-known pieces of intellectual property to possibly explore in a near future with a new series on Prime Video would fall under the realm of plausible business moves in the situation. While outside industry observers point out the possible link, given when negotiations collapsed, sources within MGM insist business continues at the studio, which continues to sell to outside buyers. while the proposed acquisition of Amazon goes through the regulatory deal.

There have been a number of unsuccessful attempts to Thesilenceofthelambs on TV until Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet got the idea to Clarice.

I’ve heard that MGM’s brass are happy with the duo’s creative vision, but the studio wants to keep the show at ViacomCBS only if it stays on the broadcast network based on the presumption that, even if it doesn’t. isn’t rated well on CBS, the company would get more in overseas sales with the series on a national broadcast network – a notion disputed by some industry experts. I hear Ulrich’s belief that a broadcast series brings more value to the entire MGM library and a movement of Clarice to a streamer would negatively impact studio library assets beyond that series.

Yet MGM would have made money on Clarice with a season 2 on Paramount +. Instead, he would now walk away with a loss of deficit funding from a canceled show after one season, one of the worst case scenarios in the broadcast networking business.

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