The Sex (And The City) Economy

Soon after, Bushnell sold HBO the rights for six figures, but didn't share in the upside. Not that she's done badly. First published in 1997, Bushnell's book has sold more than 260,000 copies since 2001. Meanwhile, the show instantly became one of HBO's highest-rated attractions when it launched in June 1998.

HBO won't disclose DVD sales figures, and there's no way of telling how many of their 39 million subscribers signed up as a result of the series. In 2004, HBO sold the rights to Sex to fellow Time Warner cable outlet TBS for $750,000 an episode. The show is syndicated in over 200 countries. HBO's online store sells 74 Sex-themed items, including a "Carrie Balconette Bra" ($94), "Samantha Thong" ($36), "Charlotte Camisole" ($90), "Miranda Martini Glass" ($12.99) and a "Mr. Big T-shirt" ($19.99).

The network will be no more specific than to say it's made "hundreds of millions of dollars" from Sex. Not bad.

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