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USA’s ‘Monk’ Gets Syndie Run in New York, L.A.

Jul 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

USA Network’s hit series “Monk” is moving to broadcast-on the weekends, in syndication.

WNBC-TV, New York, KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, and WFLD-TV, Chicago, have already secured rights to the show, which is distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

Sean O’Boyle, senior VP and general sales manager for NBCU DTD, said he also has offers from ABC, CBS, The CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates in other markets.

“We’re very pleased with the reception we’re getting from the broadcasters in each market,” Mr. O’Boyle said. “I think you’ll see a traditional syndicated rollout with this show, representing a lot of different station groups.”

Shows originating on cable are only beginning to show up in syndication on broadcast stations.

“Sex and the City,” which originated on HBO, and “South Park,” which originated on Comedy Central, are already running successfully as strips on broadcast stations. “The Shield,” from FX, and “Farscape,” from the Sci Fi Channel, have already been sold and another USA show, “The Dead Zone,” is coming on the market for fall 2007, said Garnett Losak, VP and director of programming for Petry Media Corp.

“I think the whole cable-broadcast snobbery is pretty much over. I think broadcasters have realized that they don’t have a lock on good programming,” Ms. Losak said. “Good, strong television shows will find homes in syndication on both broadcast and cable and that will continue to be the case.”

“Monk” is particularly appealing, added Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television Group. “You have a show that has, because of the Emmys and Golden Globes [earned by star Tony Shalhoub], a higher profile than most cable shows,” Mr. Carroll said.

He added that there is demand for programming, particularly among the affiliates of the new networks, The CW and MyNetworkTV.

NBCU is offering “Monk” to stations on a barter basis, with the stations getting seven commercial minutes per show and NBCU retaining seven minutes. Stations will run each episode twice each weekend, starting in fall 2008, Mr. O’Boyle said. Those terms are no different from weekend hour shows coming off broadcast, he said: “‘Monk’ is a quality show and advertisers have been deeming it as such.”

He expects to clear the show in time periods including fringe, access, late fringe and, with some CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates, prime-time clearances.

This season on USA Network, “Monk” is having its strongest season yet, averaging a 4.1 Nielsen Media Research rating, up 26 percent from its first season four years ago.

When it was first launched, “Monk” also briefly ran on ABC through a repurposing deal, which helped it get noticed. “Some stations asked about that,” Mr. O’Boyle said. “We showed the research and when it was on, it improved the time period and improved on the lead in. Those numbers support their confidence in the show.”

While digital extensions are a big part of what NBCU is pushing this year, the syndicated version of “Monk” comes with no interactive bells or whistles.

By 2008, NBCU will have 93 episodes of “Monk” available for syndication. Earlier this year, USA acquired the Monday-through-Friday cable rights to the show.