Successfully bidding against Comedy Central, FX has
acquired the exclusive cable rights to Married with Children starting in the
fall of 1999, officials said last week.
The deal that FX struck with Columbia TriStar Television
Distribution gives the network exclusivity for Married for cable and superstations
for four years.
The 259 shows originally aired on the Fox broadcast network
from April 1987 through June 1997, and the series became a signature sitcom for the
fledgling channel. FX hopes that Married will do the same for it.
"The brand that we're trying to establish is one
where we'll take major creative risks," FX president Peter Liguori said.
"This show breaks established molds. It's one of the keys shows that launched
the Fox network ... It's in line with what we're doing, and it's a home run
in tone and manner."
FX will strip Married in primetime, although its
specific time slot hasn't been decided yet, according to Liguori.
He declined to say how much FX is paying for the show, or
how many other cable networks bid on it. But sources said Comedy Central was one of the
bidders for the series, for which FX is reportedly paying $175,000 per episode.
Liguori added that Married "fits in incredibly
well with the original shows that we have in development."