"The decline for the big three comedies isn't all that surprising,; "Seinfeld" has been off the air nearly a decade, and "Friends" and "Raymond" are beginning to seem dated. And many fans have already seen every episode. But there is little to take their place, as nearly all returning syndicated sitcoms have declined this season, while new offerings, like "Scrubs" and "According to Jim," have averaged a 2.1 or below. But if no new one makes it to a second seaso, older ones hang on.
The back-end value of syndication can make the shows profitable, even if they struggled during their prime runs.