Turner has nabbed the off-net rights to Fox’s “Family Guy” spinoff “The Cleveland Show,” marking the latest in a string of high-profile cable off-network deals.
The toon will run on both Adult Swim and TBS, which will share the show in a fashion that’s similar to how both Turner cablers simultaneously run “Family Guy” segs. Deal is expected to be announced shortly.
Adult Swim (the latenight, young male-skewing sibling of Cartoon Network) and TBS will get “Cleveland” starting in 2013.
“Cleveland” also reps the third big off-net cable sale coming out of this past year’s freshman class for 20th Century Fox TV.
Sister distributor Twentieth Television also recently sold cable rights to the studio’s “Modern Family,” which went to USA for around $1.4 million an episode, and “Glee,” which is heading to Oxygen for around $500,000 a seg.
Turner and Twentieth declined comment on the deal, although it’s believed that “Cleveland” fetched around $500,000 an episode.
Show was a shoo-in for both cablers, given the success Adult Swim and TBS have had with “Family Guy.” That edgy animated series has made Adult Swim a dominant latenight player, particularly among young men.
For TBS, the show is seen as perhaps a good bridge between the “very funny”-branded cabler’s African-American sitcoms (“Are We There Yet,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”) and its animated properties, such as “Family Guy” and new original “Neighbors from Hell.”
It was the success of “Family Guy” on the Turner nets (along with stellar DVD sales) that helped convince 20th Century Fox TV and the Fox network to revive the animated series in 2004 after it had been canceled. “Family Guy” has since turned into a lucrative franchise for News Corp., and ultimately spawned “Cleveland.”
“Cleveland” is the latest series to cash in on cable’s booming off-net market for comedies. TBS’ record-setting, $1.5 million-an-episode deal for “The Big Bang Theory” ignited the market, which allowed 20th to cut early deals for its frosh sensations “Modern Family” and “Glee.” Rich off-net pacts for shows that have only completed one season would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, but top cablers like TBS and USA have a voracious demand for fresh programming.
Turner, of course, hasn’t been shy in opening its pocketbook to enhance TBS, having also sealed a deal for latenight host Conan O’Brien.
“Cleveland” centers on soft-spoken “Family Guy” character Cleveland Brown, who moves to Virginia to reunite with his high school sweetheart — and encounters her rowdy kids.
Fox is high enough on “Cleveland” that the network has already given the series a third-season order, keeping the show in originals through at least 2012.
Seth MacFarlane, Mike Henry and Rich Appel co-created “Cleveland” and serve as the show’s exec producers. Henry also provides the voice for Cleveland, while other voice actors include Sanaa Lathan, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Kevin Michael Richardson and MacFarlane.
“Cleveland” scored Fox’s best Sunday comedy debut in over six years, and won its timeslot among adults 18-34 and teens. Show was also the No. 1 new series of the season among men 18-34, men 18-49 and male teens.
Among Twentieth animated properties, Adult Swim also runs the former long-running Fox entry “King of the Hill,” and has grabbed the off-net cable rights to MacFarlane’s “American Dad.” And it ran “Futurama” until 2008, when Comedy Central took the show.