WGN-TV, Tribune renew "Friends" through 2017

WCIU clears Rules of Engagement; show now in 75% of country 

You can always count on your Friends – especially in syndication.

Tribune Broadcasting announced a third-cycle syndication renewal for Friends, the Emmy-winning sitcom that was a mainstay on NBC’s “Must-See TV” from 1994-2004. The renewals cover the fifteen Tribune stations currently airing the series, including WGN-TV here in Chicago and WPIX-TV in New York  and KTLA in Los Angeles. Tribune stations have carried off-network repeats of Friends since 1998, and ran on WGN at 6 p.m. until 2006 when it was replaced by the ghastly According to Jim (not exactly a bright programming move.) However, Friends has been a solid utility player in late-fringe for years.

Other Tribune markets renewing the series include Philadelphia; Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Houston; Seattle; Miami; Portland,  Ore; Indianapolis; Hartford; Grand Rapids; New Orleans; and Lancaster-Harrisburg-York, Pa. market.

The renewals come as syndicator Warner Bros. announced last month it was pulling HBO’s Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm from broadcast syndication after just one season. Both series were cleared primarily on Tribune stations.

-Not only Friends is scoring deals, so are its numerous army of clones (well, at least one of them.) WCIU announced recently it has picked up Sony Pictures Television’s Rules of Engagement, beginning in the fall of 2012. The Friends-like sitcom (the difference here in the show features two married couples and a Joey clone played by David Spade) has cleared 75% of the country, including WCIU, WPIX, and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. Other station groups clearing the series include Sinclair, Meredith, Belo, and Newport.

In a rather odd move (for an odd show), CBS is moving Engagement to a Saturday night time slot beginning this fall.