With A&E buying the rights to HBO’s critical hit The Sopranos, a new record has been set for a network buying rerun rights. At $2.5 million per episode, some may call it a steal. This could have a domino effect, not unlike the salary booms of professional athletes. While that may be fine for critical or popular darlings, what about less successful shows with several seasons under their belt? Or Reality TV? Could The Ashlee Simpson Show sell for millions per episode?
The other troubling detail about this deal is the fact that A&E might run ‘clean’ versions of the show for a ‘broader basic-cable audience.’ While creator David Chase has not remarked on this possibility, one cannot help but consider this as another case of creative vision being dwarfed by dollar signs. Enjoy the Bada Bing strip club while you can.