BET has acquired "off-network rights" to the hit ABC series Scandal - created by Shonda Rhimes, starring Kerry Washington.
In short, what this means in that BET will air the first 2 seasons of the show, and then when the new season (the 3rd season) begins this fall, each episode will air on BET immediately after they air on ABC - although no word on how much time will pass between when each episode airs on ABC and then on BET.
The deal will continue for future seasons, as long as Scandal is renewed for a 4th, 5th, 6th, etc season.
This may not immediately seem like a big deal, but, instead of a lengthy explanation, I'll just say that there's a lot of money to be made in syndication (by both ABC and BET), especially for a very popular show like Scandal.
"We’re thrilled to be joining forces with ABC in airing this dynamic series," said BET's Debra Lee said in a press statement. "Scandal is a cultural phenomenon that has resonated with viewers for the past two seasons and we're excited to be part of its continued journey."
This is BET's first syndicated scripted drama pick-up, one that I'm sure they're hoping will pay off in ratings and ad revenue.
Who knows, with moves like this, maybe it puts BET closer to being in a position to make deals directly with creative forces the likes of Shonda Rhimes.
I'm actually surprised that Oprah Winfrey didn't think to do this for OWN.
I love how competitive the "black TV network" space is becoming, especially with OWN seemingly entering it, although that wasn't the network's original intent. But right now, BET is clearly leading the pack, with Bounce TV, ASPiRE, TV One, and others, behind, especially in terms of original scripted programming.
Something to definitely watch closely.