Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution will be offering cable networks and TV stations two new sitcoms next month: both Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls are headed to market, according to multiple sources.
That Warner Bros.' is prepping to take bids on Mike & Molly is no surprise. The show is headed into its third season and considered a solid player for CBS in its Monday 9:30 p.m. time slot. Like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, the show is executive produced by Chuck Lorre, who seems to have an uncanny feel for populist programming. In its last outing on May 7, Mike & Molly turned in a respectable 3.1/8 rating among adults 18-49, behind both 2 Broke Girls at a 3.6/10 and Men at a 3.8/10, but not by much.
That Warner Bros. is choosing to take out 2 Broke Girls now, however, is more surprising, considering that the show just finished its first season. In the past couple of years, cable networks have begun trying to snap up popular sitcoms early to lock in their deals and get a jump on the competition. When Big Bang came to market two years ago, at least five cable networks turned in bids: NBCU's USA, News Corp.'s FX, Tribune's WGN, Viacom's Comedy Central and Turner's TBS, which ultimately won. Twentieth's hit Modern Family also sold early -- at prices higher than even Big Bang received -- sparked by a preemptive offer from USA.
A similar competitive scenario is likely true for 2 Broke Girls as well, and that will force TV stations to come to the bidding table earlier than they had expected.
For the most part, the Fox- and Tribune-owned station groups still control the fate of off-net sitcoms when it comes to the broadcast marketplace, but with CBS' recent purchase of duopoly station WLNY New York and Weigel's WCIU Chicago continued assertiveness in this space, there's some additional competition to consider in top markets.
Mike & Molly will be available for a 2014 premiere, while 2 Broke Girls won't be ready to launch in syndication until 2015, when it's entering its fifth season.
Warner Bros. declined to comment.