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Setting Sale for 'Mike & Molly,' '2 Broke Girls'

Lots of potential bidders, but popular sitcoms are entering crowded market 6/18/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Warner Bros.' Mike & Molly and
2 Broke Girls are set to be sold in
broadcast and cable syndication.
Offers were due last week from key broadcast
groups and cable networks for Warner
Bros.’ pair of sitcoms, according to several
sources. Mike & Molly will premiere in 2014,
while 2 Broke Girls will launch in 2015.

Among the potential broadcast bidders are
groups that own sitcom-airing stations in the
top three markets: Tribune, Fox and CBS.
Cable networks expected to have turned in
offers are TBS (a sister Time Warner company
to Warner Bros.), News Corp.’s FX and
Comcast NBCU’s USA Network. Other possible
contenders are Lifetime, WGN America
and Viacom’s Comedy Central, although the
two broad-based, multi-camera sitcoms are a
bit off-brand for that network.

Broadcast terms—other than license
fees—for both shows are likely to be similar
to those Warner Bros. Television Distribution
set for Two and a Half Men and The Big
Bang Theory
, says Bill Carroll, vice president
and director of programming for the Katz
Television Group. Those terms include double
weekday runs and at least two weekend
runs. Both shows are expected to be sold for
cash-plus-barter in six-year cycles, just as Men and Bang were.

That said, neither Mike & Molly nor 2 Broke Girls is expected to command
the license fees of Men and Bang. While 2 Broke Girls is positioned
to potentially become a hit, it’s not considered to be there yet, with
the show’s first-season finale hitting a season low. CBS has moved the
sophomore show to the key Monday 9 p.m. time slot for fall, however,
and that move could help the show’s ratings grow significantly.

Mike & Molly, headed into season three,
will remain in its Monday 9:30 p.m. time
slot, where it could benefit from any growth
shown by 2 Broke Girls. Mike & Molly, starring
Billy Gardell and Emmy-winner Melissa
McCarthy, is executive produced by Chuck
Lorre, who is the creator behind both Bang
and Men, syndication’s top two sitcoms.

A few wild cards could make negotiations
over the two sitcoms tricky. First, CBS Television
Distribution and Tribune are developing
a late-night talk show with Arsenio Hall
that is likely to occupy Tribune’s 11 p.m. time
slots, limiting that group’s immediate need
for new sitcoms.

Similarly, Tribune is also said to be interested
in Debmar-Mercury’s Anger Management,
which premieres June 28 on FX. While Anger
Management
’s ratings performance remains
an unknown, early buzz on the new Charlie
Sheen vehicle is good, and the series is expected
to go forward into broadcast syndication.

Both possibilities give Tribune some flexibility
and make the station group less needy for
other new sitcoms. As a result, broadcast bidding
for Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls could
be less robust than originally anticipated.

Other off-net sitcom possibilities for 2014
syndication include Hot in Cleveland (which CTD is shopping now),
Raising Hope and Happy Endings. Comedies coming for 2015 likely
will include New Girl, Last Man Standing, Up All Night, Whitney and
Suburgatory.

E-mail comments to palbiniak@gmail.com
and follow her on Twitter: @PaigeA

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