'The Simpsons' Finally Hits Cable Homer

Twentieth Television to take animated series into cable syndication, with the sale expected to take in $1B

Twentieth Television is prepping to take
The Simpsons into cable syndication,
with the sale expected to rake in $1 billion
or more for 21st Century Fox.

The show, headed into its 25th season
on Fox, has been in syndication on
TV stations since 1994. In the original
deal, stations agreed to pay cash until
the show went off the network. Since
then, News Corp.—now 21st Century
Fox—has been unable to further monetize
the show on cable and subscription
video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms.

Stations will have to allow for changes
in their original deals for the show to
go to cable, although those changes remain
unclear. Previously, it was thought
that The Simpsons would have to end
its run on Fox to free it up for cable; that
may no longer be the case.

The Simpsons remains strong on Fox,
where it’s likely to be renewed. Nets that
could bid include News Corp.’s FXX, a
youth-targeted comedy network that will
premiere in September, as well as TBS,
Comedy Central and NBCU’s USA and
Esquire. Whether the deal will include an
SVOD run remains to be seen; sources
say the first push will be on cable.