"Seinfeld" returns to WPIX

In a bit of a homecoming for Seinfeld, local syndicated repeats of the sitcom about “nothing” is returning to Tribune Co.-owned WPIX, after ten years at Fox-owned WNYW.

WPIX was the original syndication home in the New York market, paying six figures a week for the top-rated NBC sitcom which debuted in prime access in September 1995. However, the series departed WPIX in March 2001 for WNYW after the Fox station outbid its arch rival.

This time around, WPIX is paying considerably less for Seinfeld, which will enter its fourth syndication cycle in March 2011. The series is sold for cash-plus-barter, with Sony Pictures Television holding 90 seconds back to sell national advertising. Five-and-a-half minutes are being kept by stations to sell local ads. Even though the economy played a role in the deal, off-network sitcoms generally fetch less dollars per episode the more they age.

WNYW unloaded Seinfeld to make room for upcoming syndicated purchases, including 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother. 

There is no word yet on a sale of Seinfeld’s fourth cycle in either Chicago or Los Angeles, where Fox owns the rights. But with no group deal for Fox or Tribune stations, this is good news for WCIU-TV (and possibly Me-TV), where the Weigel Broadcasting-owned station would no doubt be Sony’s first stop to pitch if incumbents WFLD-TV and WPWR-TV choose not to renew.