"Hawaii Five-0," the CBS crime-fighting drama that has consistently won its Monday night time slot in its inaugural season, was hailed today by the network’s chief executive as CBS’ next billion-dollar franchise.
"This is only ‘Hawaii Five-0’s first year and it’s already on its way to being another billion-dollars franchise for us, joining ‘NCIS’ and ‘CSI,’ which both remain strong on our network as well," Leslie Moonves, CBS’ CEO and president," said on a conference call following the release of the company’s earnings.
Moonves also said that the international and domestic syndication commitments for "Hawaii Five-0" are now nearly $5 million per episode, "meaning that it is already extremely profitable."
Last month, CBS sold "Hawaii Five-0" to TNT at "very attractive rates," according to Moonves. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the price tag was in the low-to-mid $2 million range.
CBS said it earned $202 million in the first three months of the year by cutting its costs for sporting events.
Although revenue dipped, CBS was able to save money by sharing coverage of the NCAA college basketball tournament with cable TV networks. It also didn’t have to pay to broadcast the Super Bowl, which was shown on Fox this year. CBS didn’t say how much it saved.
Net income in the first quarter came out to 29 cents per share, compared with a loss of $26 million, or 4 cents a share, a year ago. Last year’s income was 5 cents a share after excluding special items.
CBS said the results were helped by advertising revenue growth, after excluding the absence of the Super Bowl from its programming this year. The combined effect of not carrying the Super Bowl and shifting some of the NCAA basketball tournament games to Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting trimmed about $350 million off of revenue.
Still, revenue fell less than 1 percent to $3.51 billion.
The New York-based company also doubled its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share. The dividend is payable on July 1 to shareholders of record as of June 10.
Later this month, CBS will meet major advertisers in New York to sell its upcoming fall line-up. Moonves said he expects "double digit" percentage increases in ad prices from a year ago.