UPDATE: TBS Lands ’2 Broke Girls’ Off-Net Rights For Record $1.7 Million; CBS Stations Pick Up ’2 Broke Girls’ And ‘Mike & Molly’
UPDATED: A week after the deadline for bids on Warner Bros. comedy series 2 Broke Girls, the hot CBS freshman has found a buyer in TBS in a deal that sources said is setting a new cable record for an off-network sale. I hear the license fee is a record-setting $1.7 million per episode, eclipsing the previous record of $1.5 million an episode set by The Big Bang Theory, which also went to TBS. (Modern Family was sold for close to that to USA in 2010.) Additionally, CBS TV Stations has acquired both 2 Broke Girls and the other comedy series Warner Bros has been shopping, sophomore Mike & Molly, for debuts in 2015 and 2014, respectively. Final cable bids for Mike & Molly are due tonight, with a sale expected next week. Warner Bros. TV Distribution took out 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly early in part to secure station sales before another multi-camera sitcom, Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, hits the marketplace. The latter has been aggressively promoting its availability to stations in face of competition from 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly.
The high price for 2 Broke Girls at TBS stems from the scarcity of marquee multi-camera sitcoms for basic cable networks to acquire. TBS, a sibling of Warner Bros, is riding high on the ratings success of another young-skewing CBS/Warner Bros off-network comedy acquisition, The Big Bang Theory, the No. 1 sitcom on basic cable, and word is the network was very aggressive in pursuing 2 Broke Girls, which was put on the market after only one season. It will join TBS’ lineup in 2015. “When 2 Broke Girls premiered last fall, it immediately found its audience and appeared to us to be a perfect fit for TBS,” said TNT and TBS programming head Michael Wright. “We believe 2 Broke Girls is poised to enjoy a long, successful run, and we look forward to adding it to the TBS lineup.”
Chuck Lorre has experienced the lows and highs of network TV situation comedies, from the challenging situation with Grace Under Fire (1993-98) and Cybill (1995-98) to his current status as co-creator and driving force behind a trio of CBS comedies: Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly. It doesn’t sound like it’s gone according to any kind of plan, and in fact that’s the case, as the sometimes fiery, always funny, veteran showrunner makes clear. If he deserves at least a humanitarian Emmy for surviving the ordeal of Two And A Half Men star Charlie Sheen’s three-and-a-half men meltdown the previous season, he’s been in the game long enough not to expect much.
AWARDSLINE: Let’s start with Two And A Half Men. Why was it important to you to keep it on the air even after part of that eighth season got scratched?
CHUCK LORRE: It wasn’t simply my decision. There were a lot of people involved and so forth. Including, you know, you’ve got Warner Bros. who had a great deal with it, economically, at stake. But by and large there was a family of people that had worked together for eight years and a lot of people were counting on the show continuing for a number of reasons. One was it was a livelihood for a lot of people and we had a great time on it and had a lot of fun doing the show all the time.