Station to run show twice daily for 2 years of 4-year deal

NEW YORK — Independent station KRON San Francisco will pay $10.4 million for off-HBO rights to “Sex and the City” in the first TV syndication deal engineered by Warner Bros. Domestic TV since it sold rights to the show to the 26 Tribune-owned stations last month.

Warners and KRON confirmed the deal but declined to comment on license fees.

But those fees are only one part of the revenue stream for Warner Bros., which could pocket millions more from the three 30-second spots it will carve out of each run of “Sex” for sale to national advertisers.

KRON veepee of programming Pat Patton said his Warners deal calls for the station to run “Sex” twice a day for the first two years of a four-year contract beginning in September 2005. The double run will help to inflate the ratings of “Sex” and guarantee a bigger ad-revenue yield for the studio.

“Sex” could suffer from wear and tear because HBO has produced only 94 episodes, half a dozen of which may not be playable because their content couldn’t be sanitized even with drastic editing. A typical broadcast network sitcom that runs for seven to 11 years will rack up 150-250 episodes over the course of its firstrun life, making it easier for a TV station to rerun them ad infinitum.

The San Francisco deal has propelled the overall gross revenues of “Sex” to more than $100 million, spurred by the $68 million TBS forked out earlier this month. But TBS will get a nine-year license term for its $68 million, as well as a 15-month exclusive window starting in June.

The KRON deal, added to the Tribune contract, puts “Sex” in only about 40% of the U.S. So Warners stands to funnel tens of millions of dollars more into its coffers as it starts closing deals with stations in the rest of the country.

KRON is a pure independent not affiliated with any of the seven broadcast networks. KRON schedules 8½ hours of news a day and slots the firstrun “Dr. Phil” in primetime every night at 8; most stations play it at 3 or 4 p.m.

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