Stations Primed For More Off-Net Sitcoms

Looking ahead to 2014, syndicators are pitching stations on a number of broadcast and cable shows including Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management on FX and TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.

The 2014 TV season is still two years off, but stations are already jockeying for some of network TV’s and cable’s hottest sitcoms. And they’re ready to pay big bucks for them.

Topping the list is Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly, which it’s taking to stations next month, followed by Charlie Sheen’s FX sitcom Anger Management, which debuts on FX on June 28. If it generates good ratings, distributor Debmar-Mercury will roll it out to stations.

On a smaller scale, CBS Television Distribution is now meeting with station groups about TV Land’s Betty White sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. Sony Pictures Television is expected to start meeting with stations about its Happy Endings for fall 2014.

Warner Bros. will take Mike & Molly out to stations in June. The show ranked No. 10 among all network shows in the week ending May 6 with a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49.

But, more than that, it’s the first Chuck Lorre show to hit syndication since his The Big Bang Theory was sold into syndication in 2010. Lorre’s Two and a Half Men was sold in 2007.

In its first year in syndication, Bang is the No. 1 sitcom, while the long-running Two and a Half Men ranks No. 2.


Bang raked in huge off-network dollars when it was sold. Per episode, Warner Bros. is getting more than $2 million from station license fees and another $2 million or more in barter advertising. Plus, it’s getting $1.5 million per episode for its cable run on TBS.

Two and a Half Men was sold into broadcast syndication for about $2 million per episode in license fees and another $2 million in barter sales. The cable network FX pays $850,000 per episode.

Meantime, Charlie Sheen, the original star of Two and a Half Men, is rolling out Anger Management in a unique arrangement with FX. The network has committed to airing 10 episodes. If the show achieves an undisclosed rating, the network’s order zooms to 100 episodes. Meaning, Debmar can take the show out to stations for off-network syndication for 2014 within a few months.

TV station executives say Anger Management episodes will almost definitely make it to broadcast syndication.

While the 2014 off-network marketplace is already taking shape, the fall 2013 season is still in the works.

Twentieth Television’s Modern Family was sold in 2010 for fall 2013. And, earlier this year, Warner Bros. sold The Middle into broadcast syndication. Sony Pictures Television is close to finalizing deals for Community. Twentieth will meet with stations in a few weeks about The Cleveland Show while NBC Universal is likely to sell Parks and Recreation to stations later this year.

Looking out to 2015, a few shows finishing up their rookie seasons on network primetime schedules are strong possibilities for off-network syndication.

Next month, Warner Bros. is going to meet with TV station groups about 2 Broke Girls and, eventually, it may bring out Suburgatory. And Twentieth Television’s Last Man Standing and New Girl may also make it to broadcast syndication in 2015.

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