Columbia TriStar Television Distribution will likely see New York TV stations bid from $ 175,000 to $ 225,000 per episode for reruns of the NBC hit “Seinfeld.”As reported earlier this week, Col/TriStar is keeping a minute of barter — plus cash — for five weekday runs (Daily Variety, March 1). The weekend run is on an all-barter basis with Col/TriStar keeping one 30 -second spot. Deals will be for at least 3 1/2 years. After that, stations are committed to all further episodes with a 10% increase in license fees. Bidding in the No. 1 market will end later this week with Tribune-owned WPIX-TV and Chris Craft-owned WWOR expected to battle it out. Fox-owned WNYW-TV — which already has “Home Improvement” and “The Simpsons,” is expected to sit this one out. Col/TriStar is hoping to average at least $ 3 million per episode for the Castle Rock-produced series when it is done with its national rollout. The last sitcom to do that well was Disney’s “Home Improvement.” In New York, the winning bid for that show was about $ 225,000 per episode. After New York, Col/TriStar will hit Los Angeles, where more stations should mean more money. Rep firms have two theories on how well “Seinfeld” will do in the syndication market. Some feel that the show’s adult-urban audience plays better in latenight — especially in smaller markets — which would likely mean smaller license fees , perhaps closer to $ 1.5 million per episode. But other rep sources counter that after “Seinfeld,” the sitcom market is pretty bare for the next few years in terms of huge hits. Also, many reps made the same latenight argument when Col/TriStar rolled out “Married … With Children,” which ended up with mainly prime access slots.
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