For fans of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, May has been a rough time. Because Mother is only a moderate success, it has to fight to find a spot on the network’s schedule. As a result, CBS waits until the very last minute to decide the series’ fate. Viewers are left to sweat it out, asking “Will the sitcom be renewed for another season?” Well, it looks like their luck is starting to change a bit.
Variety is reporting that Twentieth Century Fox Television has made syndication deals with local stations in several national markets. A separate deal for cable-exclusive rights will be decided in the coming months. Though Mother’s ratings have never been outstanding, the series is very attractive in the syndication market for a couple reasons. The audience typically skews younger and there aren’t too many sitcoms that will be offered in syndication in the near future. Though sitcoms aren’t in big demand in network primetime, they’re a big hit in syndication.
Though it’s nice that fans will be able to see the show five days a week, the great news becomes apparent when you read the “fine print” of the syndication agreements. Mother’sfour-year syndication contract stipulates that the studio will deliver 110 half-hour episodes in the year 2010. At the end of the fourth season (which kicks off on Monday), only 90 episodes will have been produced. That means that, under the syndication deal, the studio is obligated to deliver at least 20 more episodes, ensuring Mother will get a fifth season.
The profitable syndication market has come into play several times over the past couple years. Though their ratings aren’t great, ABC’s Scrubs and According to Jim were both renewed because they’re big moneymakers in syndication. A similar scenario could mean that Mother may continue past the fifth season. If the show goes for additional years, the local station contracts will be extended, ensuring the studio boatloads of more cash.
CBS doesn’t own Mother so there’s no guarantee that the network will renew the series next Spring. However, since Twentieth Century Fox Television is committed to making more episodes, they may give CBS a good deal on season five. If CBS doesn’t want it, the show could switch networks and would likely move over to the FOX network, a corporate sister of Twentieth Century Fox Television.
One way or the other, it looks like a sitcom that’s always been on the bubble is finally going to get a welcome bit of security.