Warner Bros. has sold The Big Bang
Theory to the Fox Television Stations and TBS for a simultaneous
fall 2011 debut, Warner Bros. confirmed on Saturday (May 15).
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
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.
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.