Home Entertainment ‘The Conners’ to Deliver Syndication Payday for Werner Entertainment: Debmar-Mercury Sells Rerun...

‘The Conners’ to Deliver Syndication Payday for Werner Entertainment: Debmar-Mercury Sells Rerun Rights to Top TV Station Groups


Producer Tom Werner and the team behind ABC sitcom “The Conners” have reason to smile.

The series independently produced by Werner Entertainment has been sold in syndication by distributor Debmar-Mecury to TV station groups representating 85% of U.S. TV households. Starting in the fall reruns of the show’s first five seasons will begin airing in late afternoon and early evening time slots on stations around the country. “The Conners” began its strike-delayed sixth season on Feb. 7.

“The Conners” is one of the few new comedies in recent years to make it into traditional syndication deals with local stations around the country. Traditional multi-camera comedies in the vein of “The Conners” have become few and far between in the past decade as streaming options proliferated and the creative community leaned toward single-camera comedies and other formats that aren’t as syndication-friendly as a traditional sitcom.

The sale of rerun rights third-party buyers in local TV will generate significant financial windfall for Werner Entertainment and “Conners” profit participants. In the streaming model, rerun rights are not sold off but held within the platform for years. In this model, top talent commands big checks upfront but there’s no opportunity to cash in on a hot property with off-network sales. With very few traditional comedies coming on the market these days, Debmar-Mercury undoubtedly had no shortage of bidders in the biggest TV markets that generate the majority of revenue.

Limited access to past “Conners” episodes is available on the ABC.com app and Hulu. The syndication sales to TV stations will likely make the show’s episodes available on a Monday-Friday basis in many markets, which will strengthen the show’s pop culture profile if the reruns deliver strong ratings for stations.

“With Tom Werner providing the highest-rated sitcom to enter off-network syndication in recent memory, ‘The Conners’ will serve as the cornerstone of many of our great station partners’ late afternoon and early evening schedules for many years to come,” said Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury, Lionsgate’s specialty distribution arm for first-run and off-network syndication.

Buyers for “The Conners” include stations owned by CBS Television Stations, Gray, Nexstar Media, E.W. Scripps Co., Lockwood and Weigel.

“The Conners” stars Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson. Tom Werner and Gilbert are executive producers with Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez.