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'Medium’ Fits Lifetime

11/25/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

Lifetime Television has envisioned a future with total syndication exclusivity for NBC drama Medium.

The women’s-targeted service purchased the rights for Medium — starring Patricia Arquette, who won the 2005 lead-actress Emmy Award for her portrayal of psychic crime solver Allison DuBois — from Paramount Domestic Television, beginning in 2009.

Lifetime officials would not disclose pricing, but executives familiar with the deal put it in the $1.3 million-per-episode range. That’s a pretty price, although it’s well below the $2.5 million per episode A&E Network paid for The Sopranos and the $2 million Spike TV paid for each installment of CSI: New York.

However, the deal does more than afford Lifetime cable exclusivity. Its price will also keep Medium away from broadcast stations on weekends, according to network officials.

By the time Medium materializes on Lifetime’s air in 2009, it should have completed its fourth season on the Peacock network.

During its current sophomore season, the series has averaged some 12.1 million total viewers and 3.9 million watchers among 18 to 49 in its Monday night 10 p.m. timeslot, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

The acquisition follows other recent off-network purchases by Lifetime in the comedy arena, including such series as Frasier, Will & Grace, Reba and Still Standing.

The deal is also one of the first major moves by Suzanne Daniels, the former The WB executive, who became president of entertainment for Lifetime Entertainment Services in September.

“We think this smart and absorbing drama depicting a woman in all of the complexity of her life, juggling a normal family with an extremely unusual line of work, will resonate strongly with our audience and make an outstanding addition to our schedule,” said Daniels in a prepared statement.

Lifetime, which has been racking up basic-cable best ratings in the original movies genre, including miniseries Human Trafficking, recently decided to pull the plug on Strong Medicine, the medium’s longest running drama, after it completes its sixth season early next year.

September