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Thanks to an early syndication deal, ABC’s breakout hit “Scandal” is heading to BET.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network recently inked a deal with Shonda Rhimes for off-network rights the political drama. Under this new pact, BET will air seasons one and two of the series, and original episodes from the upcoming third season no sooner than eight days after they originally broadcast on ABC this fall.

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“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with ABC in airing this dynamic series,” said Debra Lee, Chairman of BET Networks. “’Scandal’ is a cultural phenomenon that has resonated with viewers for the past two seasons and we’re excited to be part of its continued journey.”

The agreement extends season-one Scandal episodes to BET in addition to Netflix, where they’ve been streaming since September 2012. It marks the first time season two will air outside of ABC, and Hulu. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.

In its second season, Scandal catapulted from a modest performer in its seven-episode first season to a bona fide hit in its Thursday 10 p.m. slot. The fast-paced drama averaged 8.5 million total viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, consistently winning its slot against heavy competition from CBS’ Elementary (and frequently topping its Rhimes-created lead-in Grey’s Anatomy). Perhaps more important, the series ranked as Thursday’s most social broadcast this season — out-tweeting Fox’s American Idol with more than 4.2 million total, a phenomenon that helped attract viewers including Oprah Winfrey and Lena Dunham. Star Washington rallied the cast to sign up for Twitter to live-tweet original episodes, with the series regularly taking up multiple worldwide trending topics each week. Since launching as a political soap, the series has grown to become a critical favorite for its risky storytelling approach and brisk pacing. It’s generating Emmy buzz heading into Thursday’s nominations.

BET will kick off its “Scandal” debut with a marathon this August.

Gladiators, you tell us. Is this great news?


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