More cable networks are getting into the reality repeat game, as VH1 has purchased the exclusive rights to air all six seasons of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model. Four seasons have already aired on UPN; the fifth debuts in the fall, and the sixth has been announced. Variety reports that VH1 “is said to be spending $75,000 an episode for” the series; the network “has bought three-year license terms for ‘Model’ and currently can air the first three seasons.” VH1′s Brian Graden told Variety “he’ll be airing ‘Model’ marathons–as it did last Thursday with episodes from season one–scheduling the show in vertical stacks.” It’ll be able to air the fourth season starting this fall, so look for the first three to repeat in marathons this summer.
VH1 also picked up the rights to air NBC’s Tommy Lee Goes to College, even though they have yet to see a single episode. They’re paying “close to $100,000 per episode,” and, Variety says, “bought 30-month licensing terms and will also repurpose same-week episodes during the show’s premiere run.”
So why buy reality shows to repeat? Graden explains, “Pop culture is moving so fast, if you don’t play in the moment, you don’t win on the acquisition front. Part of VH1′s brand proposition is to traffic in the pop culture you love at this very moment. To celebrate a franchise like ‘Top Model,’ you can’t wait two or three years to get it on the air.”