Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s off network sales for the fall 1997 syndie debut of Fox hit “Living Single” are off to a strong start, with deals in the top three markets – including the Fox stations in New York and Los Angeles – and six of the top 10 markets. All told, the program has been cleared in 30% of the country so far.

The same stations also licensed “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” which WBDTD is selling at the same time for fall ’96.

Six figures for ‘Single’

In Gotham and L.A., industry sources estimated that the Fox stations paid about $100,000-$125,000 per episode each for “Living Single” and $75,000 per episode for “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.”

WB, which is offering the show for cash plus one minute of ad time, is confident that “Living Single” can top $1 million per episode. While execs there declined to comment on price, the done deals have not altered their projections.

Meanwhile, Carsey-Werner on Aug. 23 received opening bids in New York, L.A. and Chicago for its series “Grace Under Fire,” which is available for syndication in fall ’97. Chris-Craft is believed to have the most interest in the series.

Phantom bidders?

Station sources said both the Tribune and Fox stations passed – with Trib eyeing “Frasier” as a “Seinfeld” companion and Fox up to its ears in off-net comedies – but C-W Distribution president Joe Zaleski was adamant the syndicator had received multiple bids in each market.

C-W sought $75,000 per week in New York and in LA., and $35,000 in Chicago, but station sources said that, as with most off-net shows today, the bids likely were below the asking price.

On the WB front, the syndicator also licensed the sitcoms to Tribune-owned Chicago superstation WGN. The deal is believed to include a syndicated exclusivity provision, which would block out the shows in WGN cable markets with broadcast rights.

Also acquiring the WB shows was Paramount-owned WGBS Philadelphia, WSBK Boston, KTXA Dallas and WKBD Detroit. Tribune’s KWGN Denver also bought both shows, but paid only $6,000 per episode for “Living Single,” say sources.

Par owns stations in Miami, Washington and Houston that could end up clearing the shows.

The syndie is selling “Cooper” for cash plus six minutes of ad time per week. There is no weekend run of the show. It is packaging “Single” for the 7-8 p.m. hour known as prime access. “Cooper” is being pushed for the 5-7 p.m. time period.

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