TV fortunes come out of nowhere -- sometimes with less anger and more management.
Charlie Sheen, already a mega-millionaire from his meteoric rise -- and then fall -- during CBS’ "Two and a Half Men," now looks to gain with another show, although not to perhaps the same multimillion-dollar levels.
On the back of "Anger Management"s' strong 10-episode season on FX, which pulled in a very healthy average 4.5 million total viewers and 2.5 million 18-49 viewers -- as well as its expanded and unusual syndication-ready 90-episode additional order for FX -- Sheen and his producers look to gain more value from TV stations and other outlets.
Stations made tons of money from "Two and a Half Men" and they are keen to grab another sitcom that can do the same for them.
The interesting angle, of course, is that this sitcom comes not from a broadcast but a cable network. For stations, that means perhaps a bigger available audience.
It isn't the first time a cable network has done this. Comedy Central’s "South Park" and others have also gone this route. (Debmar-Mercury, the syndicator for "South Park,"has the same role for "Anger Management." Debmar-Mercury also structured similar 90-episode off-TBS deals for "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and "Meet The Browns").
The heyday of big off-broadcast network sitcoms pulled in massive revenues. "The Cosby Show" grabbed $4.7 million in collective station cash fees per episode in the late ‘80s. In the early ‘90s, "Who's the Boss?" took in $2.5 million per episode. Late in the ‘90s, "Seinfeld" and "Home Improvement" also got to $2.5 million per episode.
Those numbers have changed a lot, now with the inclusion of cable networks as platforms for syndicated series. The biggest-rated current syndication sitcom, Warner Bros.’ "The Big Bang Theory," has been estimated to pull around $2 million per episode -- with TBS spending $1.5 million, and Fox TV stations $500,000.
What could "Anger Management" get? Probably not those really high cash numbers. But as a cash-and-barter Monday through Friday double-run (afternoon and late night) show, there is big money to be made in national advertising revenue.
Fox Television Stations group has signed on as the key core big station group for the syndicated airings of "Anger Management." We can guess that a paucity of high-rated broadcast network sitcoms -- especially those coming to TV stations, which these days simultaneously can also be shared with competitors like basic cable networks -- is one key reason for the deal.
TV viewers and consumers in general love a celebrity comeback. For "Anger Management," this goes for TV program deals as well.