After length negotiations, which began shortly after 20th Television (the syndication arm of 20th Century Fox Television) began shopping the syndication package to cable networks earlier this year, the recently launched cable network FXX has reached a deal for the off-network rights to Fox’s hit animated series The Simpsons.
The deal, which is the biggest off-network deal in TV history, is said to be worth north of $750 million and comes into effect in August 2014, when FXX will have rights the show’s first 24 seasons (530 episodes). Subsequent seasons of the series will become available on FXX each following September until such time as Fox stops producing the series. In addition, in what is a first for such deals, FXX has also obtained streaming rights to the series and as such will make The Simpsons available on their soon to launch streaming service FXNOW.
The landmark deal comes shortly after Fox renewed The Simpsons for a record-breaking twenty-sixth season and is also good timing for the 21st Century Fox owned and operated FXX network. The network, which only just recently launched as an off-shoot of FX, is available in fewer homes than its parent network and will be able to use the animated series to boost its ratings levels. Its also a great deal for 20th Century Fox Television who, until recently, had been prohibited to selling any syndication package to cable due to an exclusive broadcast syndication deal struck in 1993.
“The Simpsons is indisputably one of the greatest shows in television history,” said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions. “We are honored to have it associated with FX Networks and FXX. This was a very long, hard and complicated negotiation and I credit the relentlessness and diligence of Chuck Saftler for getting it done. I also want to thank Gary Newman and Dana Walden at 20th Century Fox Television, and Greg Meidel and Steve MacDonald at Twentieth Television. Most important of all, I want to thank Jim Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean and everyone at Gracie Films for this new partnership.”
FX Networks’ President of Program Strategy and COO Chuck Saftler, who negotiated the deal with 20th Television, commented: “Woo Hoo! The Simpsons is the crown jewel of television and the longest-running, most successful comedy series in television history, which is testament to the amazing talents of Jim Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, and the Gracie Films team. This is a historic deal for FXX and FX Networks and I don’t believe there will ever be another one like it.”
While Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairmen and CEO’s of 20th Century Fox Television, added: “The Simpsons long ago crossed over from ‘brilliant award-winning comedy series’ to ‘full-fledged cultural phenomenon,’ and this landmark deal is a testament to its enduring power and relevance. Matt, Jim and Al continue to deliver one of the most ingenious creations of the modern era, and we could not be more excited that the ever growing library of more than 500 episodes will now be available to FXX viewers. The passion for this property from John, Chuck and everyone at FX was overwhelming, and we are grateful to Greg, Steve and Lori Bernstein in constructing this complicated and groundbreaking deal.”