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TBS grabs ‘Cougar Town’ from ABC

Sitcom will migrate for fourth season

TBS has made a deal to air 15 new episodes of sitcom “Cougar Town,” which is leaving ABC.

The cabler has also acquired the rights to air the 61 episodes of the comedy’s first three seasons. New episodes of “Cougar Town” will begin airing in early 2013.

Looking to add more originals to its lineup as well, TBS has ordered “Deon Cole’s Black Box” and “Who Gets the Last Laugh?””Black Box” stars “Conan” writer Cole, who will offer his offbeat commentary on a handful of video clips. O’Brien, Cole, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger and Doug Karo exec produce.

“Last Laugh,” from exec producers Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, will see two comedians dream up outrageous pranks and then unleash them on the public, with a live audience determining which was funnier.

TBS has ordered six episodes of “Black Box” and nine of “Last Laugh.” Both shows are produced by Warner Horizon and will debut in 2013.

As for “Cougar Town,” TBS, TNT and TCM programming prexy Michael Wright called the show “a smart, whimsical sitcom that draws its humor from likable, relatable characters. We are thrilled to have ‘Cougar Town’ moving to the TBS neighborhood as the network continues to expand its slate of original comedy series.”

Series creator Bill Lawrence, who made numerous proactive efforts online and held viewing parties to keep the comedy alive, exec produces “Cougar Town” with Kevin Biegel, Courteney Cox and David Arquette for ABC Studios. Cox stars with Brian Van Holt, Christa Miller, Ian Gomez, Josh Hopkins, Busy Philipps and Dan Byrd.

Skein, which made its third-season debut in midseason, has seen adequate ratings in a Tuesday timeslot following “Last Man Standing” but was not expected to be part of ABC’s 2012-13 plans.

TBS has made original comedy a priority this year. New series “Men at Work” will premiere May 24, followed later this year by “Sullivan and Son” and “Wedding Band.” In addition, the network benefits greatly from the strong ratings performance of syndicated episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.”

Revivals of broadcast shows by alternate distributors are not unheard of — “Southland” traveled from NBC to TNT, for example, and “Damages” and “Friday Night Lights” moved to DirecTV — but they are still rare, particularly in comedy. One recent instance saw former Fox animated comedy “Futurama” revived by Comedy Central.

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