Off-network deals include WGN-TV, WQAD
In good news for off-network sitcom-starved stations, Sony Pictures Television announced it has sold ABC Wednesday night sitcom The Goldbergs in syndication starting in the fall of 2017, starting with eighteen Tribune markets.
Cash-plus-barter deals include WGN-TV in Chicago and ABC affiliate WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities area, consisting of Davenport, Ia., Rock Island, and Moline, Ill. Besides WPIX in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles, Other notable Trib clearances include KDAF Dallas; KIAH Houston; KTVI/KPLR St. Louis; WXIN, Indianapolis; KFOR/KAUT in Oklahoma City; and CBS affiliate WHNT in Huntsville, Ala.
This story was first mentioned in TV Newscheck last week.
Also notable about this deal is this is the first time in years a sitcom has been sold in broadcast before a cable sale was made. In recent years, sitcoms such as New Girl, Parks And Recreation, and Last Man Standing have skipped a broadcast window altogether for cable, while one show sold in broadcast (Bob’s Burgers) was relegated to weekends, although a weekday strip is now being considered, according to Broadcasting & Cable. No doubt demand for such product has waned in the last decade as stations have opted for first-run strips and local news to fill early fringe (afternoon) and prime access (evening) time slots once occupied by such fare.
So far, Goldbergs is the only off-network series offered for 2017. This fall, only two off-network series being offered – sitcom, drama, or reality: Pawn Stars (as a strip) and weekend runs of The X-Files, which previously had a syndicated run from 1997 to 2005.
The Goldbergs deal comes as WGN is looking for programming to fill with the upcoming departure of CW programming. In September, CW moves its affiliation to Fox-owned WPWR, currently a My Network TV affiliate.
Premiering on September 24, 2013, The Goldbergs is loosely based on creator Adam F. Goldberg’s childhood growing up in the Philadelphia area. The sitcom generally parodies ’80’s culture, as told from the point-of-view by a character named Adam – basically a childhood version of Goldberg, who holds a rather large video camera.
The Goldbergs isn’t set in a particular year in the 1980s, so episodes have covered topics and pop culture events throughout the decade.
Despite a shaky start – both creatively and ratingswise, The Goldbergs have become a solid performer for ABC’s Wednesday night lineup and one of the more enjoyable sitcoms on broadcast television (the second season has an outstanding 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) By comparison, another sitcom set in the decade of Pac-Man (That’s ’80’s Show) from Carsey-Werner Productions came and went quickly in 2002.
The Goldbergs stars Wendy-McLendon Covey and Chicago native Jeff Garlin, who also appears on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, whose creator Larry David announced last week he was bringing the series back for another season after a five-year absence.
With the Goldbergs already sold, other current sitcoms eligible for broadcast syndication in the future could include Mom, Black-ish, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As you can see, the board is still bare in it comes to sitcoms as networks have favored drama and reality series over the last few years.
As you probably know by now, The Goldbergs is not related to the earlier television series and radio program of the same name; the radio show ran from 1929 to 1946, and later adapted for television, where it ran from 1949 to 1956. During its TV run, The Goldbergs – this version about a Jewish family living in New York City – aired on CBS, NBC, DuMont, and finally, first-run syndication.
Likewise, another same title/different concept show currently on the air (syndicated talker The Doctors), is not related to the 1963-82 NBC daytime serial. This summer, CBS is airing American Gothic, but it is not related to an earlier 1995 effort of the same name, which also aired on CBS.