WGN-TV has bolstered its schedule by adding off-network reruns of CBS’ hit comedy Mom, starting next fall.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has sold the show in syndication on a cash-plus-barter basis to seventeen Tribune markets, including the newly independent WGN-TV. Many Tribune stations plan to pair Mom with Two And A Half Men, another Warner Bros. sitcom. This is the second time in the last few weeks Tribune has struck a multi-station deal to acquire off-network sitcom product: earlier, Tribune (and WGN) acquired ABC’s hit comedy The Goldbergs for fall 2017 from Sony Pictures Television, signaling the off-net sitcom market is becoming hot again, despite a lack of product.
With Tribune on board, Mom has cleared 71 percent of the country with various station groups. Other Tribune stations taking the show include WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles, WPHL Philadelphia, KDAF Dallas, KIAH Houston, WXIN in Indianapolis and WHNT in Huntsville, Ala.
For WGN, the acquisition of Mom continues a strategy of acquiring product to air in primetime and surrounding dayparts as the station prepares to cut its ties to The CW on September 1. Beginning next month, WGN is quadruple-running Men from 6 to 8 p.m., and double-running of Twentieth’s Last Man Standing from 8 to 9 p.m. Standing is syndication’s only off-network sitcom launching this fall.
Both Mom and Men were created by Chuck Lorre, who has two other off-network sitcoms in off-net via Warner: The Big Bang Theory and the recently-concluded Mike & Molly. Before his deal with Warner Bros., Lorre created Cybill and Grace Under Fire for Carsey-Werner Productions and was a staff writer for Roseanne.
Premiering on September 23, 2013, Mom centers on a dysfunctional mother and daughter duo (played by Allison Janney and Anna Faris, respectively) who both are recovering substance abuse addicts, dealing with issues such as alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, relapse, and overdose. Unlike Lorre’s other shows, Mom has received critical praise, including an eye-popping 82 Metacritic rating for its third season and a 65 overall. Janney has won two consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and was recently nominated for a third.
Oddly, Mom mirrors one of Lorre’s shows at Carsey-Werner in a way: Grace Under Fire was about a woman (Brett Butler) – a former alcoholic who leaves her abusive husband to start a new life. In real life, Butler had substance abuse issues and behavioral problems during the show’s fourth and fifth season, resulting in ABC’s abrupt cancellation of the sitcom in February 1998 as the program drew tepid ratings results in its last year and throughout its subsequent off-network syndicated run. Butler, who admitted to drug and alcohol abuse in her youth, often clashed with Lorre, who left after the show’s first season.