Major markets pick up CBS sitcom

Although it did not get the coin it was seeking, Twentieth TV has scored deals with the Fox-owned TV stations in N.Y., L.A. and Chicago for reruns of the hits CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

Stations in five other major markets, including CBS-owned outlets in Philadelphia and Dallas, also bought the series.

The distributor got above its asking price in only one market, Chicago (at $65,000 a week), but drew a solid license fee in the rest of the country, driven by bidding from multiple stations. Twentieth wanted $80,000 a week in New York and received about $70,000 from WNYW. The opening asking price in L.A. was $70,000 a week, and KTTV ended up paying $50,000. Twentieth TV declined to comment on station call letters or license fees.

The sales process got started earlier this month when Twentieth set up an auction for “Mother” in a group of major markets; the bids began flowing in late last week. What ginned up demand for “Mother” is the relatively high number of adults 18-49 who have gravitated to the series on CBS, which tends to be the oldest-skewing broadcast network.

Also, sitcoms from CBS’ Monday-night block of half-hours have delivered above-average Nielsen ratings in off-network syndication over the last decade, led by “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “King of Queens” and “Two and a Half Men.”

WPSG Philadelphia and KTXA Dallas, both owned by CBS, bought “Mother,” as did Sunbeam Broadcasting’s WLVI Boston, Kelly Broadcasting’s KQCA Sacramento and Tribune’s KCPQ/KMYQ Seattle.

While Twentieth continues to sign deals in markets throughout the country over the next couple of months, it will also create a separate negotiation to sell the cable-exclusive rights to one of a group of networks that have put in bids, including TBS, Lifetime, ABC Family, FX, Comedy Central and Spike.

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