Cablevision, needing to pay down debt, will get 80% of the purchase figure and minority stakeholder MGM the remaining 20%.
NBC gains a cable channel outside of the news genre that may provide a window to re-air scripted programming from the broadcast network. NBC owns the financial news network CNBC and runs MSNBC in partnership with Microsoft Corp.
The network, unlike rivals Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and News Corp.'s Fox, so far has not engaged in the growing practice known as repurposing, in which a broadcast network replays episodes on cable networks soon after a premiere, though many of NBC's shows such as Law & Order and its sibling series are seen on cable through syndication deals.
Both NBC and Bravo, which is in 68 million homes and features film- and arts-themed programming, are viewed as upscale-oriented networks. NBC, with shows such as West Wing and Will & Grace, draws well among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic coveted by advertisers because those viewers are believed to be ready to spend their disposable income.
"It has long been our goal to expand NBC's cable reach into entertainment," Bob Wright, vice chairman of General Electric and chairman-CEO of NBC, said in a statement. "Bravo, with its desirable demographic, is a perfect strategic addition to our portfolio, providing a particularly good fit with NBC's network and cable viewers."