Off-network bids for Warner Bros.’ Big Bang Theory were due at 9 AM PT this morning. TBS, FX, USA have all submitted their offers along with Viacom, with smaller players also in the mix. The price is expected to hover around $1 million an episode, which was the record price tag for a sitcom cable sale fetched by Seinfeld in its first deal with TBS. Most observers expect the final fee to go north of $1 million, setting a new record. While all players are expected to be aggressive — FX already has Big Bang‘s companion Two And a Half Men, USA is looking to get into the half-hour comedy business — “it will be a shocker if TBS doesn’t land the show,” an insider said. Besides being in the Time Warner family, TBS has a great need for Big Bang, which it is hoping to use as a strong lead-in for the new Conan O’Brien talk show. For now, it appears that cable nets will share the show with broadcast stations. But it is theoretically possible that a cabler ponies up $2 million an episode for exclusive rights.
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