News Corp.'s Fox Television Stations Group has acquired rerun rights to Charlie Sheen’s new comedy “Anger Management.”
The deal keeps the show in the same family. News Corp.'s cable network FX telecasts new episodes of the show.
“Anger Management” premiered to solid if not spectacular ratings for FX earlier this year, averaging close to 5 million viewers per episode. That was good enough for the cable channel to agree to order an additional 90 episodes. That commitment allowed the show’s production company, Debmar-Mercury, to sell reruns to the Fox stations after just 10 episodes.
In the past, it would have been unusual for broadcast TV stations to buy reruns of a TV show that first aired on a cable network. The rationale was that the cable shows had too small a following to attract the kind of audience needed to work for a broadcast station.
But that has started to change as many cable shows are now drawing audiences comparable to what the broadcast networks get. Plus, Sheen is a familiar face to viewers from his movie career and the long-running sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”
“Typical wisdom says off-cable shows aren’t right for general syndication, but that’s way too narrow-minded for today’s reality,” said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming for the Fox TV station group.
“When a program produces these ratings, regardless of the platform, you have to take it seriously,” he added. “We did, and we expect ‘Anger Management’ to be a key piece of our sitcom dominance for years to come.” Fox’s station group reaches almost 40% of the country.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fox is paying cash and giving up ad inventory for Debmar-Mercury to sell in the show, which is standard for most rerun sales.
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