Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has licensed its low-rated off-net sitcom “Head of the Class” to TBS for this fall, continuing the trend of distribs selling rerun product to the superstation before the shows finish their syndication run.
The deal, however, was characterized as “pretty standard business” by Scott Carlin, senior VP of sales at WB Domestic TV Distribution, since there’s no syndication exclusivity on the show.
And though “Head of the Class” has some three more years to go in its off-net deals, “a large group of the stations have already burned up the vast majority of their runs,” Carlin said. He added that the TBS deal doesn’t preclude the possibility of a second cycle in syndication.
“We know it’s popular among a very specific audience demo that we’d like to strengthen,” said Terry Segal, exec VP and general manager of TBS.
The “Class” deal was predicted last fall (Variety, Sept. 28) in the wake of TBS’s pacts to carry DLT Entertainment’s “Three’s Company” and Rysher Entertainment’s “Saved by the Bell” while they were still in syndie.
Segal said the teen and kid appeal of “Class” gives the station a strong companion piece to Rysher’s”Bell.” That show currently airs at 5:05 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, but Segal said company hasn’t fully locked in the time periods for September.
“We have a tremendous appetite and desire to buy programs in their first cycle when they haven’t been overexposed.” Neither exec would discuss the money that’s changing hands, but it’s believed TBS will pony up in the neighborhood of $ 60,000 per for 114 episodes of “Head.”
Nor would either confirm that WB’s “Growing Pains” would be heading to TBS for fall ’94, as had been previously reported.
“Head of the Class,” which debuted off-net in fall 1990, averaged a 1 rating, 7 share in just 21 Nielsen markets in the November book, down from a 2/8 for its lead-in.
“If it was a major success there’d be a little more of an outcry (from stations),” suggested Jack Fentress, VP, director of programming, station rep firm Petry National on hearing the news. “It just didn’t do that well in syndication.”
“‘Head of the Class’ is performing so poorly for us it won’t have a place on our schedule next fall anyway, so the impact is minimal,” stated Walt DeHaven, general manager at KTXA, Dallas-Ft. Worth, where the show scored a 1/3 at 10 a.m. during November.
“If they can go out and and negotiate deals with TBS, more power to ’em,” added DeHaven. “The onus falls on other stations to secure (syndication exclusivity) for their own good and if they don’t, shame on them.”