Syndie ‘Spin’ to UPN affils

To bow in fall 2000

Just a week after picking up distribution rights to the DreamWorks/ABC sitcom “Spin City,” Paramount Domestic TV has sold rerun rights to the show to UPN affils in the top three TV markets for a fall 2000 debut.

Par officials and reps for the stations would not comment on financial terms of the deals with WWOR New York, KCOP Los Angeles and WPWR Chicago. Sources said the Michael J. Fox comedy netted a weekly license fee in the $70,000 to $75,000 range in both Gotham and L.A.

That would translate to about $130,000 per episode (for a minimum of 100 segs) in each market, or a combined commitment of about $25 million from the Chris Craft/United Television-owned outlets in Gotham and Los Angeles over the initial 3 1/2-year license term.

When sales in the rest of the country are wrapped up, syndie biz veterans say “Spin City” will probably fall on the high end of midlevel off-net earners in recent years, a field that has been paced by superstars “Home Improvement” and “Seinfeld.”

Par is offering “Spin City” to broadcast stations exclusively its first go-round in syndication. Some distribs have been carving cable windows in the fourth or fifth year of the first syndie cycle, but the promise of exclusivity on “Spin City” probably helped spur Chris Craft/United TV’s interest in the show.

In addition to the weekly license fee, Par is retaining 90 seconds of advertising time in each telecast. Par is offering stations six runs per week, one of which would fall on a Saturday or Sunday, plus the option of double runs during the show’s first season in syndication.

“Spin City’s” fast start on the sales front in a crowded off-net market underscores the uncertainty among station buyers about some of the other sitcoms currently on the off-net block. Among the sitcoms making the sales rounds this month are Warner Bros.’ “Suddenly Susan,” Columbia TriStar’s “NewsRadio” and Eyemark Entertainment’s “Caroline in the City.”

The rub, in the view of one major-market buyer, is that the shows up for grabs for fall 2000 and beyond “seem to be pretty much all the same. There isn’t one that really stands out as the must-have show.”

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