'Big Bang Theory' Sold to Fox, TBS for Fall 2011
Tribune misses out on CBS' Monday night hit in top markets
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/15/2010 2:15:00 PM
Fox will give the show double-runs in access and late fringe in ten markets, including top-three markets New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Other Fox markets include Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando and Baltimore. Fox also will have the rights to four weekend run.
"When the top sitcom on television becomes available, you have to take it seriously from both a qualitative and competitive standpoint, which we did," said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations, in a statement. "We are confident that The Big Bang Theory will strengthen our already powerful comedy blocks on the Fox-owned stations."
TBS acquired exclusive cable rights to strip the show on weeknights.
"The Big Bang Theory is simply one of the best comedies to come out in a very long time," said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in a statement. "With endearing characters and writing that is as consistent as it is funny, The Big Bang Theory is already a tremendous hit among young adult viewers, making it an ideal fit for TBS's lineup."
Big Bang's sale had been closely watched for more than a year. The show's sale and the revenue it reaps is expected to set the market place for off-net sitcoms in both broadcast and cable for at least the next three years -- until Twentieth's Modern Family comes to market for 2014.
"The demand for this show has been building steadily for more than a year," said Ken Werner, president, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. "We couldn't be more gratified by the reception that Big Bang has received in the marketplace, and we have found the perfect launch partners in Fox and TBS, both of whom instantly realized the enormous potential value to be realized from this forward-thinking partnership."
Estimates on Warner Bros. total take for the show weren't yet available, but sources say Fox likely paid $100,000 per week for the show in New York. That's similar to what Tribune plays for Two and a Half Men, although less than half of what Fox paid for Seinfeld in that market. According to reports, TBS paid an estimated $1.5 million per episode for the top-rated sitcom, which is a cable syndication record. FX paid $800,000 per episode for Two and a Half Men, which it will start airing this fall.
Tribune -- the other likely broadcast home for the show because it airs Two and Half Men, CBS' other top-rated Monday night sitcom - underbid Fox and also asked for a window for its cable network, WGN America. TBS declined to share the show, however, and at $1.5 million per episode more than paid for the privilege.
The Big Bang Theory was created by Two and a Half Men's Chuck Lorre, who also has a new show, Mike & Molly, headed to CBS this fall. Gilmore Girls' Bill Prady also is a creator. Big Bang Theory stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco.
The Tribune Company has still yet to come out of bankruptcy, if I'm not mistaken. This means they have to be very careful and justify every expense. The Trib has made it clear unless they got right to TBBT for their cable WGN America and had exclusive rights for the rest, there was no point. As it is, FOX paid for a show that is going to be deluted by running on TBS as well.
Eric Post - 5/17/2010 5:43:08 AM EDT
tribune should have stretched for this show because it works next to 2 1/2 men. simultaneous cable start is bad, understand why they did not like that.
beanyboy - 5/15/2010 4:56:28 PM EDT
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