Rerun rights to the Netflix animated comedy “BoJack Horseman” are being shopped to cable buyers by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury distribution banner, an unusual example of a Netflix original series hitting the syndication market.
“BoJack” producer Tornante Co. was among the first production companies to work with Netflix on original programming. “BoJack” premiered in 2014, when Netflix was still ramping up its originals strategy and wasn’t as focused on locking up global rights in all-encompassing deals that essentially buy out the syndication window that is so crucial to profitability for producers.
Tornante, headed by Michael Eisner, clearly had the foresight to retain the off-network rights in “BoJack” for a domestic syndication sale. The offbeat comedy about a washed-up sitcom horse (voiced by Will Arnett) from the 1990s dropped its fourth season on Sept. 8. The series has racked up 48 episodes to date and has already been renewed for Season 5.
“I’m very proud of ‘BoJack Horseman.’ Who knew a washed up sitcom star, who happens to be a horse, would drive the best reviews of any television show or movie in which I have been involved in my career?” Eisner said. “This business is all about who you work with creatively. Thank goodness (creator) Raphael Bob-Waksberg walked through my door.”
Debmar-Mercury chiefs Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said “BoJack” hits the market at a time when cable buyers are in need of fresh comedy series. The sale of “BoJack” will be closely watched by the industry as an example of the value of shows launched on Netflix in the wider TV eco-system, even though few series are likely to follow in “BoJack’s” domestic syndication footsteps, at least for now.
“In an era when addictive, laugh-out-loud comedies are in short supply, ‘BoJack Horseman’ delivers what cable networks have been missing,” Marcus and Bernstein said.
“BoJack” is executive produced by Arnett, Aaron Paul, Steven A. Cohen, and Noel Bright. Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Paul are also part of the voice cast.