In what may be the first sign the syndication market is
strengthening, TV stations paid cash to renew Twentieth Television's off-Fox
animated hit Family Guy for a second four-year cycle, taking the show
through the 2014-15 season.
"From a timing standpoint, the marketplace is getting
better, advertising is getting better, and TV stations are getting healthier.
We saw that as an opportunity," says Paul Franklin, Twentieth's executive VP of
Stations from the Tribune and
Fox groups have renewed the show, with Tribune's WGN sharing Family Guy
with Weigel's WCIU in Chicago.
Family Guy receives cash license fees and stations keep 5 Â½ minutes of
advertising in each episode, while Twentieth keeps 1 Â½ minutes.
"Family Guy has played a key role for our stations'
sitcom blocks by delivering strong numbers and healthy demos. I'd be
stupid to not renew one of our highest rated shows," said Sean Compton,
Tribune's senior VP of programming and entertainment, in a statement.
Family Guy is the second highest rated off-net sitcom
in syndication, just behind Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men, at a 3.5 live
plus same day season-to-date household rating, according to Nielsen. It's
syndication's top-rated program among adults 18-34 and 18-49, tying Two and
a Half Men in the latter demographic for the top spot.
In addition to Family Guy, stations have picked up
Twentieth's other animated offering - American Dad, which is also
produced by Seth MacFarlane. Stations acquired American Dad on an
all-barter basis with stations keeping 4 1/2 minutes of advertising and Twentieth
keeping three minutes. American Dad thus far has been cleared in 40% of
the country in more than 19 markets, including New York,
Los Angeles, Chicago,
Philadelphia and Dallas.
American Dad will premiere this fall on TV stations
on weekends only with a concurrent run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. It will
become a strip in fall 2011.