WGN-TV picks up show in Nexstar deal. Also: Access: Hollywood renewed through 2025
Are you ready to put up with Young Sheldon five nights a week? You’d better be.
Already airing on Nick at Nite, the Big Bang Theory prequel has been sold in 90 percent of the country by Warner Bros. to broadcast stations this fall, including Nexstar stations in “top markets” – those formerly owned by Tribune Media.
Unless another development happened, this almost certainly means the show will air on WGN-TV this fall. It’ll likely air either in primetime (8 p.m.) or late fringe (11 p.m. or later.) Other top Nexstar markets to get the rights include WPHL Philadelphia and WPIX New York, who is run by Nexstar but is owned by Mission Broadcasting in a shared services agreement (Nexstar sold WPIX to Scripps but later bought it back through Mission.) In those markets, the show is likely to land in access (7-8 p.m.)
This site explained its syndication prospects back in November when the show was sold to ViacomCBS’ cable networks, of which Nick at Nite is part of.
“WarnerMedia continues to deliver to our broadcast partners distinctive and franchise making comedies that both viewers and advertisers crave,” said Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution executive VP David Decker. “With ‘Young Sheldon’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ in syndication, the full story of Sheldon Cooper, the iconic and beloved character that connects both shows, will bring humor, laughter and joy to television stations every day of the week.”
Currently, Big Bang is the top-rated off-network program in syndication, airing on over 200 stations and TBS. However, the Fox-owned stations – who has the rights to Big Bang in ten markets including the three largest, passed on Sheldon and is instead banking their futures on Jay Leno and the You Bet Your Life reboot this fall.
Other groups signing on in the cash-plus-barter deal include ViacomCBS, Gray, Sinclair, Tegna, Hearst, Scripps, Weigel, and others. Even though Sheldon currently stands at 84 episodes (the fourth season episode order was cut due to the pandemic), it’s not uncommon for shows to enter off-network with less than 100 episodes; back in 1985, MCA TV sold Gimme A Break! in syndication with only 85 half-hours and was a major success. But more are on the way: Sheldon was renewed for three more seasons.
Young Sheldon drew huge ratings when it premiered on September 25, 2017 and has remained a constant ratings performer in the lead-off position on CBS’ Thursday night lineup. But the lead character is…something to watch (you might want to head to your local dispensary for maximum enjoyment.)
The Iain Armitage vehicle joins other Warner Bros. off-network sitcoms in syndication including Mike & Molly, Mom, and Two And A Half Men, which has been renewed for a third cycle this fall and also coming back for a third cycle is Big Bang, starting in 2023.
In other syndication news, NBCUniversal Syndication Studios has renewed Access: Hollywood through 2025 in a three-year renewal deal with the NBC-owned stations currently airing the show (including WMAQ/NBC 5, who airs Access weeknights at 6:30 p.m. opposite CBS’ Entertainment Tonight on WBBM-TV.) Also renewed is Access Daily, the one-hour daytime strip produced by the Access: Hollywood team.
“We are thrilled to continue our successful partnership with the NBC Owned stations, bringing the Access brand to local stations for additional seasons,” said NBCUniversal Syndication Studios executive vice president Tracie Wilson. “Our talented hosts have incredible chemistry and our dedicated production teams, led by [executive producer] Maureen FitzPatrick, work tirelessly to bring viewers quality content each day on ‘Access Hollywood‘ and ‘Access Daily.”
Access Hollywood premiered in September 1996 on NBC 5 and has occupied the time period ever since, going through several syndicators (New World, Twentieth, Warner Bros, NBC Enterprises, and NBCUniversal.) The series draw an average of 1.4 million viewers a day and scores well in women 25-54 in top markets such as the aforementioned Chicago, KNBC Los Angeles, and WCAU Philadelphia on the NBC-owned stations.
While Access Hollywood and Access Daily are bonafide hit shows, the same cannot be said for All Access, a spinoff intended to replace Extra at 7 p.m. on the NBC-owned stations as NBCUniversal canceled the show several months ago. Being Central Time Zone markets with nowhere to put it on their schedules, WMAQ and sister station KXAS Dallas buried All Access at 3 a.m. from the beginning.
On Monday, NBC-owned WNBC New York and KNBC launched new 7 p.m. half-hour newscasts, putting them back in the news business in the slot for the first time in decades. San Francisco’s KNTV is also adding news at 7. NBC-owned WCAU Philadelphia, WTVJ Miami, and WVIT Hartford already dumped All Access for local news at 7 p.m. months ago.
[This post was updated on 2021-09-15 to remove KTLA Los Angeles, as Young Sheldon is airing on independent KDOC instead.]