'Friends' Picked Up By Tribune Through at Least 2017

Friends Cast Portrait 2011
Warner Bros.

Deal marks the third off-network cycle for the series, which originally aired on NBC.

The Tribune Station Group has friended the syndicated situation comedy Friends for another cycle, keeping it on the air through at least 2017 in major markets including New York, Chicago and L.A.

This will be the third off-network cycle for the show which was a big hit in syndication during its run and right after it ended production of original episodes in 2004. These days Friends draws solid but not spectacular ratings. It was not among the top 25 highest rated syndicated shows for last week, but still draws a steady audience that makes it an attraction.

"When people think of the Tribune stations they think of comedy and Friends, said Sean Compton, Tribune Broadcasting's President, Programming & Entertainment. "We have been the local destination for the series for 13 years and are thrilled to continue to have it in our sitcom family for our viewers and advertisers to enjoy."

Tribune and the show's producer Warner Bros. said it was a cash plus advertising barter deal but did not reveal details. The new contact officially starts in 2013. It will be available for the first time in high definition, or what Warner and Tribune call TrueHD.

"In every market there are two broadcast stations that are destinations for sitcom viewers," said Ken Werner, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. "Having iconic, reliable and proven sitcom performers that viewers and advertisers know and love is part of their DNA. Friends is one of those rare sitcoms that delivers the goods year in and year out."

The 15 Tribune stations included in this deal are WPIX-TV (New York), KTLA-TV (Los Angeles), WGN-TV (Chicago), WPHL-TV (Philadelphia), KDAF-TV (Dallas), WDCW-TV (Washington, DC), KIAH-TV (Houston), KCPQ-TV (Seattle), WSFL-TV (Miami), KRCW-TV (Portland, OR), KWGN-TV, WXIN-TV (Indianapolis), WTIC-TV (Hartford), WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids), WGNO-TV (New Orleans) and WPMT-TV (Harrisburg).

Friends is a Bright/Kauffman/Crane Production in association with Warner Bros. Television, which is also the distributor. It originally aired on NBC from September 1994 until May 2004.