The off-net CBS sitcom is being pitched to station buyers. Other contenders for the market two years out include Debmar-Mercury’s Anger Management with Charlie Sheen.
The 2014 off-network syndication marketplace is off to an early start today. Warner Bros. is meeting with TV stations and cable networks about Mike & Molly, a CBS sitcom that ranked No. 22 among adults 18-49 in broadcast network primetime this past season.
Mike & Molly stars Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy as a working class, plus-sized Chicago couple. McCarthy won a 2011 Emmy for best actress in the comedy. Earlier this year, McCarthy was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the movie Bridesmaids.
The other sitcom that could impact the 2014 market in a big way is Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, even though the first episode of the sitcom won’t air on FX until June 28.
Debmar-Mercury is set to distribute the show, which is contingent on the show’s achieving a certain level of viewership in its first 10 airing this summer. If the show hits the mark, FX will order 100 episodes and Debmar-Mercury will take it to market.
“Debmar has done this successfully with Tyler Perry shows and FX is a hit machine,” says Sean Compton, president of programming and entertainment at Tribune Broadcasting. “So, if Anger Management’s audience is broad enough, it will appeal to broadcast syndication, especially for stations with Two and a Half Men.
“That’s a great business model,” says Compton. “We live in a fast-food world. It’s not always ideal to wait four years for a show to make it to broadcast syndication. This will be available in two years.”
Sheen starred in Two and a Half Men on CBS for eight seasons. The show for most of its run was the No. 1 primetime sitcom. It now stars Ashton Kutcher. In syndication, it is one of the most successful off-network comedies ever.
In Anger Management, Sheen is Charlie, a therapist and former baseball player who helps clients with anger issues. Selma Blair costars.
“If a station has had great success with Two and a Half Men, you can’t ignore the potential of another Charlie Sheen sitcom,” says Bill Carroll, VP-director of programming at Katz Television Group. “Beyond that, stations are looking at their needs and other shows in the marketplace.”
Anger Management is already lining up outlets overseas.
Lionsgate, which is handling international sales, has so far sold the show — for the life of the series — to Bell Media/CTV in Canada; Tele-München Group in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland; Turner in Latin America; and Viasat in Scandinavia.
Other off-net shows vying for spots on 2014 schedules are TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, Sony Pictures Television’s Happy Endings and Twentieth Television’s Raising Hope.