12:27pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Simpsons' Being Shopped to Cable Networks
The Simpsons could be heading to cable in the next year.
Twentieth Television is poised to shop off-network syndicated repeats of the long-running animated series to cable networks in the coming year, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
As first reported by TV Guide, the Fox hit could find a new home on such networks as FX (or its upcoming younger-skewing FXX network) or Turner-owned comedy network TBS -- which just announced it has acquired American Dad to join Family Guy next season. The latter has found success with syndicated repeats of CBS' The Big Bang Theory. Viacom's networks -- including Comedy Central, TV Land, Nick at Nite and Spike -- could also be among the Simpsons suitors.
A new syndicated pact for The Simpsons is not expected to impact the Matt Groening-created series' off-network syndication deals. The show, which recently marked its landmark 500th episode, is expected to continue its run on Fox beyond its upcoming 25th season.
The Simpsons is expected to fetch an impressive per-episode sum in cable syndication, with its more than 530 episodes likely to score as much as $1.5 million per half-hour, generating an additional $1 billion to the show's lucrative business -- which includes toys, apparel and more.
Turner's TBS paid a whopping $2 million per episode for syndicated repeats of TV's current No. 1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory, in 2010. Oxygen and USA Network shelled out in the ballpark of $1.5 million per episode for Glee and Modern Family, respectively, the same year.
The Simpsons, which started as a short on The Tracey Ullman Show, debuted on Fox in 1989. Syndicated repeats have been airing on broadcast networks since the early 1990s.