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An Amazing Acquisition for GSN

6/08/2005 9:10 AM Eastern

GSN has acquired seasons No. 1-5 of Emmy Award-winning reality show The Amazing Race, with an option to acquire and use more seasons through 2009.

The game network intends to launch the largest marketing effort in its history centered on the show, which GSN will use to lure viewers to new and updated shows it will launch around the episodic airings this summer.

Season No. 1 will debut July 11 at 9 p.m., with episodes every night at the same time period. The first five seasons will run in order, each night, through the summer. Seasons No. 6 and 7 will be shown beginning in September, and season No. 8, which has yet to air on CBS, will be shown next year.

GSN CEO Rich Cronin declined to state the cost of the acquisition.

"It was more expensive than we expected, but worth every cent," he said, noting that the latest season, No. 7, had an 8.0 rating on CBS, an increase over the first season’s 5.9.

He added that the show will be a very large part of the network's upfront presentation, as Amazing Race delivers GSN's target audience of men and women 25-54 years old.

GSN will meet with CBS executives to discuss possible co-promotion opportunities when season No. 8 begins in the fall. Also on the table will be whether the cable network can build an online-game-playing opportunity for GSN viewers, executives said.

GSN has had middling luck with past reality acquisitions (The Mole) and original reality shows (American Dream Derby), but executives said they expect Amazing Race to be a "game changer" for the network.

September