CBS is expected to close a deal with Lionsgate to buy half of TVGN (TV Guide Network) for around $122 million. The deal includes an option for CBS to buy 1% more of the network to gain operating control, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lionsgate Entertainment purchased TV Guide Network in 2009 for $241.6 million.
CBS has had a longtime working relationship with Lionsgate Entertainment. Lionsgate produced Weed and Nurse Jackie for CBS subsidiary Showtime. A partnership with CBS will be more strategic than with its previous partner One Equity Partners. That was mostly about the money.
The TV Guide Network launched in 1981 to deliver a scrolling grid of TV listing. Eventually listings were moved to the bottom of the screen which was shared with original and syndicated programing. Within the next year only about 10% of homes will continue display TV listings.
In addition to the cable network, the sale will give CBS ownership of TVGuide.com, but not the TV Guide print magazine. TVGuide.com has 25 million unique online users per month.
TVGN is in 80 million of 100 million American households with access to cable or satellite. Programing includes Ugly Betty, Who’s The Boss, and Celebrity Style Story. CBS can do better than that.
The deal most likely has little to do with what TVGN is doing, but with what CBS can do with TVGN.