CBS’ hot comedy series The Big Bang Theory will continue on the network through the 2013-14 season with a big three-year renewal for the Warner Bros. TV-produced series. The deal is reminiscent of CBS’ 3-year pickup of WBTV’s other hit CBS comedy, Two and a Half Men, two years ago, and this time, the studio didn’t have to sue the network to get it. (In December 2008, WBTV filed a $49 million lawsuit against CBS over Men license fees and production-cost reimbursements, and the March 2009 3-year renewal of Men and 2-year pickup for Big Bang factored into the settlement of that lawsuit.
A lot changed since March 2009 for Big Bang, which at the time was a sophomore comedy that provided CBS with a solid 8 PM anchor. The following season, the comedy exploded in the ratings behind Men at 9:30 PM. And this fall, it successfully migrated to Thursday night, quickly becoming the top-rated series on the most lucrative night of television. The series’ rising importance to CBS has factored into the big new license fee for the show, said to be north of $4 million per episode, more than quadrupling the comedy’s current license fee. (Also, the CBS-WBTV deal for Big Bang reportedly doesn’t include a deficit recovery clause like the one in the Men pact that led to the legal action.)
The renewal at CBS was also a no-brainer for WBTV, which has a lot riding on the longevity of Big Bang after netting more than $2 million per-episode in syndication sales in May. Taking the series to another network could’ve jeopardized the series’ long-term prospects as, in today’s environment, multicamera comedies work best and last the longest on CBS.
Here is CBS’ release on the pickup: (more…)