NBC eyes syndie pitch for ‘Parks’

Peacock's plan for cable sale bodes well for laffer's future

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution is preparing to take NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” into the syndication market.

The Universal Media Studios half-hour will be shopped to cable networks as early as next month, but the Peacock’s syndie arm will hold off on pitching it to local TV stations.

It’s a good sign for the future of “Parks,” which hasn’t yet formally been renewed for a fourth season. The Amy Poehler starrer has held up OK in its new Thursday 9:30 p.m. timeslot.

The comedy is up vs. last season by 17% in adult 18-49 rating (2.8 vs. 2.4) and up 9 % in total viewers (5.5 million vs. 5.1 million). NBCU may be holding back on the off-net sale to gauge how its most recent off-net laffer, “30 Rock,” does when it bows on local TV stations, including Tribune and Fox outlets in major markets, this fall. “Rock” will also make its cable rerun debut at the same time due on Comedy Central and WGN America.

Comedy Central could be a contender for “Parks,” as are cable nets ranging from FX to Spike TV that have shown a taste for off-kilter comedies in previous purchases.

NBCU is aiming to sell “Parks” at the same juncture it unloaded “Rock,” following its third season. Talk of a syndication sale comes as a sweet victory for “Parks” co-creators/exec producers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The quirky comedy struggled to find its legs, creatively and commercially, after its April 2009 debut but has since developed a loyal following.

(Rick Kissell contributed to this report.)