7:22pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
WGN America Nabs 'Parks and Recreation' Reruns (Exclusive)
NBC's cult favorite Parks and Recreation is getting a new home -- and hopefully more viewers.
WGN America has picked up off-network rights to the Amy Poehler-led ensemble from NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution, which is in the middle of its fifth season.
The Chicago-based cable channel has nabbed rights to all seasons of the comedy and will begin airing episodes in September. (The exact scheduling has yet to be determined.)
Parks and Recreation, which follows the antics of public officials in an Indiana town, was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur and also stars Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott and Rob Lowe.
The deal marks the first off-network pact for the show on cable, NBCUniversal has inked SVOD deals for Parks and Recreation. The WGN deal adds another valuable revenue stream for a series that fails to generate sizable ratings for NBC despite consistently glowing reviews.
The move follows an August announcement from Amazon, which inked a licensing agreement with NBCUniversal for Parks as well as Parenthood, The Starter Wife, Friday Night Lights, Heroes and Battlestar Galactica. The shows are available as part of Amazon's Prime Instant Video streaming service. Parks' first four seasons are available on Netflix as well.
Parks airs as part of the NBC's Thursday comedy block featuring Community, 30 Rock and The Office (the latter two of which are ending their runs this season). NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has been vocal about the disappointing ratings his lineup has garnered, noting that his comedy development team is striving for "broader" and more "inclusive" fare going forward.
Syndication has proved particularly helpful for such series as CBS' The Big Bang Theory, which is garnering its highest ratings to date in its sixth season, thanks in part to reruns airing on TBS. Universal Television's hopes that original Parks episodes will get a similar bump from the WGN repeats.