TBS deal keeps sights on ‘Seinfeld’

Show to run twice a day through 2011

NEW YORK — Continuing to lord over showbiz as masters of the cable TV domain, “Seinfeld” is racking up another $200 million-plus in a five-year extension of its deal with TBS.

The TBS deal, which the network announced Tuesday during the Turner Broadcasting upfront, will keep “Seinfeld” running twice a day on TBS through 2011.

Along with reruns of “Friends,” “Seinfeld” is a linchpin of what TBS calls its “Non-Stop Comedy Block,” consisting of a batch of sitcoms that play every weekday from 1-8 p.m. TBS slots “Seinfeld” at 6:30 and 7 p.m. each day, plus twice in primetime on Wednesday.

In 1998, TBS ponied up $1 million apiece for a four-year license term to the 180 episodes of “Seinfeld,” a cable record for an off-network half-hour that still stands.

The four years cover October 2002 to September 2006. TBS also gave distrib Sony Pictures TV two 30-second spots within each run for sale to national advertisers. These two :30s could be worth at least another $500,000 per episode over the four years — or much more, depending on the health of the advertising marketplace.

TBS has agreed to fork over another $800,000 per episode for the five-year renewal of “Seinfeld” through 2011, and Sony will continue to carve out its two 30-second spots in each play.

From 4:30-8 p.m., the TBS comedy block pulls more adults 18-34 than any other basic cabler in primetime, including MTV, according to TBS’ researchers.

As massive as they are, TBS’ “Seinfeld” license fees pale in comparison to the $7.4 million per episode the series already has harvested in off-network syndication. The second cycle of “Seinfeld” in TV syndication runs through 2006, and Sony Pictures TV probably will start third-cycle renewals within the next year.

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