DirecTV Picks Up Rights to SPT Drama Damages

DirecTV has agreed to pick up the exclusive rights to the Sony Pictures Television drama Damages, inking a deal to run 20 new episodes of the Glenn Close-Rose Byrne series on its 101 Network.
After a three-season run on FX, where the law drama picked up four Emmy Awards––including two straight Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama trophies for Close––Damages will begin its fourth season on the satellite provider’s homegrown network. While word had sprung up about a possible rights-sharing deal between DirecTV and FX, the News Corp.-owned cable net elected to let the series go after it failed to gain a strong following among viewers 18-49.
Financial terms were not disclosed, although estimates value the deal at around $1 million per episode.
New episodes of Damages will begin shooting in New York early next year. The 20 episodes will be divided into two distinct 10-installment seasons.
“Damages is simply one of the best shows on television, and we’re grateful to DirecTV for the opportunity to produce more episodes of this groundbreaking show,” said Jamie Erlicht, president, programming and production, Sony Pictures Television, by way of announcing the deal.  
After premiering to 3.7 million viewers on July 24, 2007, Damages settled into an underwhelming 2.5 million viewers per episode, of which 1.1 million were members of the 18-49 demo. By the time the third season rolled around, the numbers were no longer encouraging. In what would be the show’s final season premiere on FX, Damages on Jan. 25, 2010 drew just 1.48 million total viewers. The finale averaged a mere 975,000, per Nielsen.
“FX was very proud to have developed one of the best scripted series on television, but, in order to have a future, the show needed DirecTV and we are thrilled they stepped in,” said John Landgraf, president & general manager, FX Networks, who also heads FX Productions. “Sony Pictures Television is a great production partner and we at FX Productions are excited for these next two seasons.”
Damages was created and is executive produced by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman. The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with FX Productions.