Off-net ‘Malcolm’ clears 30% of U.S.

Jul 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Judging by the early and ongoing interest from the station community, maybe it should be called “Malcolm in the Money.”
Fresh from an announcement that “Malcolm in the Middle” was nominated for five Emmys, distributor Twentieth Television capped the celebration by clearing the series in 30 percent of the country, including the key markets of New York and Los Angeles.
“Malcolm in the Middle” will join “The Simpsons,” “That ’70s Show” and “Seinfeld” on Fox owned-and-operated stations in 10 markets. The series will launch in fall 2004 and is expected to add more than $100 million to the studio’s coffers in its first 41/2 seasons. Some analysts estimate that “Malcolm” could end up pulling in between $2.5 million and $3 million per episode by the time the series clears most of the United States.
“This was a process that had to be above reproach,” said company President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Cook. “In the end we received multiple bidders and the result was a combination of efforts with our partners and profit participants.”
“Malcolm” is slated to premiere on WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York, KTTV and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, WFLD-TV in Chicago, WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, Boston’s WFXT-TV, KDFW-TV and KDFI-TV in Dallas, Washington’s duopoly of WTTG-TV and WDCA-TV, WAGA-TV in Atlanta, KRIV-TV and KTXH-TV in Houston and KDVR-TV in Denver.
“We’ve said all along that sitcoms are the dominant genre in syndication, so really it’s no surprise that there was a strong appetite for `Malcolm,”’ said Paul Franklin, executive VP, Twentieth Television. “Sitcoms play well in multiple dayparts and deliver a high concentration of adults 18 to 49. We were able to open and close 10 markets in a day because of this.”
The series was sold on a 51/2/11/2 barter split, with the stations getting the 51/2 minutes of ad time to sell. The sale also includes mandatory double runs. In “Malcolm’s” fourth year, a simultaneous cable window will open up, although the Twentieth executives said discussions have yet to take place with any cable channels.