Fox Seeks A Single Partner To Buy ‘The Simpsons’ Cable Syndication Rights

The animated series is “the greatest television asset of all time, and certainly of the generation,20th Century Fox Television chairman Gary Newman told investors today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. He adds that “there will be one of the media companies that will want to identify with this in a big way.” Fox is telling cable networks that the 25-year-old The Simpsons has “only been on broadcast stations; it hasn’t been on Netflix or on cable yet. It hasn’t been as exploited as one might think.” And with more than 530 episodes in the can, “a cable channel could play the series for 52 weeks and not have to repeat.” The studio also is telling potential buyers that they can be creative: For example there are enough “Treehouse Of Horror” episodes to run all through October, and sufficient episodes featuring Marge to surround Mother’s Day all through May. With new episodes continuing to appear on Fox’s broadcast network, the franchise is “stronger than ever,” Newman says. He notes that Electronic Arts’ The Simpsons: Tapped Out is “the No. 1 game in the mobile space. We’re going to be releasing another one.” Universal Studios also is doing well with its Simpsons Land theme park attractions. Fox is looking for an all-cash syndication initially. But profit margins for animated shows aren’t necessarily higher than they are for live action. “I think they’d be comparable,” Newman says.

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