WCIU, CBS O&Os acquire “Hot in Cleveland”

The CBS-Weigel collation has struck again.

CBS Television Distribution cleared TV Land’s off-cable Hot In Cleveland in 65 percent of the country for fall 2014, including WCIU in Chicago and several CBS-owned stations in the nation’s largest markets.

This is the same collation that acquired Warner Bros.’ Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls for off-network syndication in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

However, there are clearance differences between those deals and the Hot in Cleveland deal.

While Cleveland has been cleared on CBS-owned non-CBS affiliated stations including WLNY/New York, KCAL/Los Angeles, WPSG/Philadelphia and KTXA/Dallas, Cleveland also cleared competing stations in markets where CBS owns independents or CWs: Sunbeam’s WLVI/Boston and Gannett’s WATL/Atlanta.

CTD also cleared an actual CBS affiliate; KHOU in Houston, owned by Belo Corp.

Hot in Cleveland in now cleared in 18 out of 20 markets.

This is the third sitcom purchase made by CBS as the station group is looking to become competitive with Fox and Tribune in bidding for syndicated product in top markets such as New York (hence the purchase of WLNY earlier this year) and Los Angeles – something not seen since the days of the Chris-Craft/United group, led by WWOR in New York and KCOP in Los Angeles. Chris-Craft partnered with then-Newsweb-owned WPWR here in Chicago to purchase syndicated product (Chris-Craft was acquired by News Corp. in 2001; WPWR was acquired by the same company a year later.)

Hot In Cleveland enters its fourth season this fall on TV Land and stars Oak Park native Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendlie Malick, and Jane Leeves. CBS acquired the syndication rights last year from Hazy Mills Productions, who produces the show. TV Land is owned by Viacom, which CBS used to be part of until the 2005 split. In 1971, CBS spun-off its syndication business due to fin-syn and was renamed Viacom.

This story first appeared on Broadcasting & Cable’s website on Thursday.

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