TBS has continued its programming acquisition run, securing exclusive cable rights to CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, beginning in the fall of 2011.
The "very funny" network will share the off-network rights with 10 Fox owned-and-operated stations. Terms of the deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution were not disclosed, although Variety reported that TBS outbid FX, Comedy Central and USA Network in paying some $1.5 million per installment, as well as giving up 90 seconds of barter time per episode.
TBS, which has recently scored by inking a pact with Conan O'Brien that will put the comic on its air in late-night come November and tipping next spring will become the key outlet for Turner through its $10.8 billion deal with CBS for NCAA March Madness college basketball rights, can strip The Big Bang Theory in primetime.
For their part, the Fox stations can position the show, starring Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, in access or late-fringe time slots. Produced by Warner Bros., The Big Bang Theory, which will complete its third season on May 24, is a staple of CBS's Monday-night comedy lineup.
" The Big Bang Theory is simply one of the best comedies to come out in a very long time," said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and TCM, in a statement.
"The Big Bang Theory presents an increasingly rare proposition for broadcast stations and cable services: the chance to acquire a traditional, multi-camera, A-tier comedy that is still expanding its audience on network television and which is poised for continued growth in future seasons," said Waren Bros. Domestic Television Distribution president Ken Werner. "We are excited that our broadcast and cable partners have come together in a synergistic manner to embrace The Big Bang Theory as this generation's A-tier sitcom."