CBS Corp. and Imagine Television Studios have entered into a co-financing and first-look agreement deal for scripted and unscripted television programming, and digital as well. The deal is for four years and covers the CBS Corp. properties CBS, CBS All Access and Showtime, and “non-CBS affiliated platforms,” said the principals.  

CBS Corp. networks will have the first look at new Imagine Television series, with CBS Television Studios a production partner and worldwide distributor for programming produced as part of the agreement. Imagine will retain distribution rights in certain Asian territories, including China and Taiwan.

“I’ve been friends with Brian [Grazer, Imagine Entertainment chairman] for 30 years; he is one of the true creative geniuses in our business,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. chairman and CEO. “I have long admired the company that he and Ron [Howard] built, as well as the consistent artistry of their work. Imagine Television series always stand out for their quality, creativity and ability to connect with audiences. This agreement aligns our broadcast, pay cable and streaming businesses with a best-in-class partner, and represents another strategic opportunity to own and distribute more content across a dynamic television landscape.”

Imagine series include Fox’s Empire, Netflix’s Arrested Development, and National Geographic’s Genius, Mars and Breakthrough. This year, Imagine Television programming received 16 Emmy nominations, with Genius, about Albert Einstein, picking up 10.

“I am so excited for this partnership with Les, someone I deeply respect and admire, and with whom I share a decades-long friendship,” said Grazer. “For the past 30 years, the hallmark of Imagine’s success has been in cultivating storytellers to create aspirational, exciting and unique films and television series. We intend to sign exclusive overall deals with inventive talent, including writers and filmmakers, to create a modern content studio that values collaboration with autonomy.”- Broadcasting Cable