WCIU lands "Seinfeld"

The sitcom about nothing is still apparently something in syndication.

Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU-TV acquired the fourth-cycle rights to off-network sitcom Seinfeld (sixth item), to begin airing in March.

The move comes as a few (but not all) Fox-owned stations who currently carry the show have passed on the next cycle of the popular NBC sitcom, with syndicator Sony opting to take the series to Tribune stations or to others.

Here in Chicago, the departure of Seinfeld from the Fox duopoly was expected after Tribune’s WPIX-TV reacquired the show from Fox-owned WNYW-TV in New York, who outbid WPIX for the program’s second cycle in 2000.

Currently, Seinfeld airs at 6 and 9:30 p.m. weeknights on WPWR-TV, and was previously on sister station WFLD-TV at 6:30 p.m. for the last fourteen years, where it was a proven prime access winner.

However, Seinfeld lost its prime access time slot to The Office and its late fringe time slot to a TMZ rerun. (ouch!)

To date, Sony has cleared the fourth cycle of Seinfeld in 60 percent of the country, with Tribune also taking the show in Dallas at KDAF-TV, Washington D.C.’s WDCW-TV, and renewing the program in markets where it already had the rights including Indianapolis; Miami; Portland, Ore. and Sacramento.

With WCIU now landing the rights to Seinfeld, there’s also a good chance one of the runs could land on its sister station, classic sitcom channel Me-TV (a very good fit!) For a time earlier this season, both WCIU and Me-TV shared reruns of That ’70’s Show.

Seinfeld ran on NBC from July 5, 1989 (when it was a pilot titled The Seinfeld Chronicles) to September 17, 1998, earning numerous Emmy Awards and finished the 1994-95 and 1997-98 television seasons as the #1 rated program. Seinfeld still ranks in the top 10 among syndicated programs, which it has done so since its debut on September 11, 1995.