Comedy, WGN Share Syndie ‘Scrubs’ Run

Jul 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Buena Vista Television is finalizing deals with Viacom-owned cable network Comedy Central and the Tribune Co.’s Chicago-based Superstation WGN-TV for the two outlets to share the off-network cable window of NBC’s prime-time half-hour “Scrubs.”

WGN will carry “Scrubs” on its analog tier within the cable universe. Both Comedy Central and WGN are expected to start running the show in fall 2006, when “Scrubs” also debuts in broadcast syndication. The move follows Buena Vista’s announcement last month that it cleared the single-camera medical comedy to local stations representing coverage of 50 percent of the country for the syndication launch.

Comedy Central and Superstation WGN declined comment. The distributor was offering a four-year deal for the show’s cable run, sources said. The cable deals will include all episodes through the 2005-06 television season, for a total of 115 episodes.

Comedy Central, which is expected to strip “Scrubs,” is best known for its originals.

The acquisition does not represent a change in Comedy Central’s programming strategy, and the network is not expected to become a major buyer of off-network sitcoms, a network insider said. While the cable network has run off-network fare, most recently the DreamWorks Television single-camera comedy “The Job” (which lasted less than a season on ABC), the Comedy Central insider said the network will continue to take a “boutiquelike approach” to off-net buys.

“We’re not in the sitcom-acquisition business,” the insider said. “Very few things fit the Comedy Central brand.”

“Scrubs,” which combines the elements of a traditional hospital show with frequent fantasy and musical sequences, is “not a straight sitcom,” the insider added.