Show nabs big bucks in off-network sales
David Bernath, Comedy Central’s senior veep of programming, said the cabler pursued “30 Rock” aggressively because it’s a good fit with the Comedy Central aud, and because web execs are confident that the series’ aud will only grow in the next two years. “Pound for pound, this is one of the funniest shows on TV. The DNA of the show is fabulous,” Bernath said. “I really believe its biggest and broadest days are still ahead of it on NBC.” Comedy Central has only recently jumped into the off-network acquisition game, adding “Scrubs” repeats to its lineup last year. The cabler was in the hunt for a “Scrubs” companion just as NBC U’s syndie arm got serious about shopping the “30 Rock” rights a few months back. The “30 Rock” purchase also marks an unusually competitive move in the off-net realm by WGN, which is looking to add more top-tier contempo fare to the cable superstation’s primetime lineup. Industry insiders said WGN execs went in on a bid with Comedy Central at the eleventh hour earlier this month when it appeared that the show was headed for a shared deal between TBS and E!. It’s understood that WGN’s newly appointed programming team has been actively stocking up on acquisitions timed to bow next year in conjunction with a planned relaunch of the general entertainment channel. Meanwhile, NBC U TV Distribution is also in the midst of shopping “30 Rock” to local TV stations, which will add more millions to the show’s bottom line. Frances Manfredi, exec veep and general manager of cable sales for NBC U TV Distribution Group, spearheaded the sale along with division prexy Barry Wallach for the Peacock. Syndie vet Chuck Larsen, head of October Moon Television, served as the rep for the producers and profit participants on the show.