In Depth

CBS Officially Extends Run of ‘Two and a Half Men,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’

CBS has officially given multiyear greenlights to Warner Bros. TV’s “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” confirming weeks of speculation about the pickups of the Chuck Lorre-produced comedies.

In addition, Warners has dropped its legal action against CBS regarding license fees for “Men.” “The matter has been resolved,” a CBS spokesman said, declining to link the settlement with the renewals.

As expected, CBS has renewed “Men” through 2012, ordering three more seasons of the Charlie Sheen-Jon Cryer series. A two-season order for “Big Bang” will ensure that series stays on through 2011.

“Our collaboration with Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre for these two series has led to great entertainment for television audiences and has been very good business for CBS,” CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said. “With these shows firmly in place, CBS is well-positioned for more comedy success in the years ahead.”

Warner Bros. TV President Peter Roth thanked CBS for “the support and long-term commitment they have made to both of these remarkable series with their well-deserved, multiyear pickups. We look forward to many more years of continued mutual success.”

The “Big Bang” renewal is particularly important for Warners, since it ensures the studio’s domestic distribution arm will have enough episodes to sell the series into syndication. With half-hour off-net comedies at a premium these days, the studio should be able to fetch a handsome sum for “Big Bang,” which is expected to hit stations in the fall of 2011.

The next few years will see just a handful of new half-hour product entering the syndie marketplace, starting this fall with NBC Universal’s “The Office” and 20th Century Fox TV’s “My Name Is Earl," followed by the latter's "How I Met Your Mother" in fall 2010. As reported last year, HBO is getting ready to talk to local stations about off-net rights to “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” NBC Universal’s “30 Rock” is on a syndication path as well.

Warners apparently will have to wait a little longer to find out if it can add “The New Adventures of Old Christine” to its future syndication roster. CBS did not renew that show as part of Wednesday’s announcement.

However, given the early success of the show on Wednesday nights as part of CBS’ overall comedy lineup, the odds are good that “Christine” will return for at least one more year, giving Warners enough episodes to syndicate.

(2:10 p.m.: Corrected syndication launch date of "How I Met Your Mother" in seventh paragraph)