“The Simpsons,” the longest-running scripted show in television history, will air on 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA:US)’s FXX in reruns, giving the three-month old cable channel a proven draw for viewers.
The agreement, covering all 24 past seasons and future episodes, marks the biggest TV syndication deal in history, Los Angeles-based FXX said yesterday in a statement. It includes pay-TV, video-on-demand and streaming rights to the animated show, which airs on Fox broadcast network, John Landgraf, chief executive officer of FX Networks, said in an interview. He declined to provide financial terms.
“The Simpsons” bolsters FXX’s lineup of comedies, including the animated series “Archer,” aimed at younger viewers. FXX is also developing animated shows “Bigfoot,” from actor Seth Rogen, and “Chozen” by comedian Danny McBride. Every “Simpsons” episode will eventually be available to subscribers on the FX Now app over the Web and on mobile devices, Landgraf said.
“We have very ambitious aspirations for our FX channels,” Landgraf said. “‘The Simpsons’ will have a profound impact on our long-term business.”
The show will give Fox leverage in talks with pay-TV systems for FXX carriage, fees and channel placement, Daniel Salmon, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York, wrote yesterday in a report.
“We see the move as an important step to helping buttress the new FXX network,” wrote Salmon, who has a “market perform” rating on Fox shares. “‘The Simpsons’ helps build the schedule, which should boost ad revenue once the show begins airing.”
21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch’s film and television business, was little changed at $34.19 yesterday at the close in New York. The Class A shares have gained 19 percent since splitting from News Corp., Murdoch’s newspaper company, in June.
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