"The Office" sold to TBS and Fox

My Name Is Earl also goes to TBS

NBC Universal sold its (somewhat) popular sitcom The Office to TBS and to several Fox-owned television outlets today. Fox stations will clear the show in ten markets, including WFLD/WPWR in Chicago.

TBS will air repurposed episodes this fall and will strip the program in 2009.

TBS adds the show to its stable of popular of off-network sitcoms, including Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, Friends, The King of Queens, and Sex and the City.

TBS also acquired the cable rights to The Office’s companion show, My Name Is Earl from Twentieth Television. TBS will air the show in 2009. A broadcast sale of the show has been put on hold until the fall, (unless you count WTBS in Atlanta), while Twentieth waits to entertain offers from Tribune, Fox, and other broadcasters.

Meanwhile, The Office garnered bids in the $200,000 per-week range which Fox has agreed to pay- cheap compared to what Tribune is paying for Two And a Half Men. They are paying a whopping $600,000 per week for the CBS sitcom. Tribune stayed out of bidding for The Office, which helped keep the price down.

The pending sale of the Tribune Co. also may have played a factor in declining to bid for The Office.

Fox will add The Office to WFLD/WPWR in Chicago, and all of its duopoly stations it owns, including those in New York and Los Angeles (The sitcom was also sold to stand-alone WUTB, a MyNetwork affiliate in Baltimore.)

Fox owns the syndication rights to Seinfeld and The Simpsons in those top markets, and will add Everybody Loves Raymond next spring.

The Office is NBC’s top-rated sitcom, and is a phenomenon among the adult 18-49 audience, where it usually wins its time period. The show is also top ranked among women 18-34 over other sitcoms.

The Office is based on the British sitcom of the same name. The British version stars Ricky Gervais. The American version stars Steve Carrell.

American Dad renewed for fourth season

And look for Twentieth to start marketing American Dad soon to cable and for syndication. The animated series, created by Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane, has been renewed for its fourth season on Fox. The renewal brings the total number of episodes to 84.