November 15, 2013

THE SKED: “The Simpsons” Rakes In More D’Oh


Just in case THE SIMPSONS hadn’t made enough billions for 20th Century Fox Television (the in-house production studio of FOX network), its producers and the larger corporate entity, today the show closed a deal with the fledgling FXX cable network to sell the exclusive cable rights there, for a term reportedly of 8-10 years, at a pricetag of $750M–the most ever paid for the off-network rights to a television series.  (The announcement was at pains to note that this price came after a bidding war with outside networks, since profit participants are apt to complain that in-house deals go for less than market prices–and at these numbers, they’re apt to sue about it.)  The deal also gives FXNow, the digital offshoot of FX Networks, the preciously unlicensed rights to stream Simpsons episodes online and make them available via VOD.  And even that $750M figure is low, because the deal extends with each new season produced for FOX, and after some scuffling with the voice cast a few years ago, no one seems in a hurry to put Springfield in mothballs.

This is likely to remain the biggest off-network deal of all time for many years to come because of the sheer size of its inventory:  as of the end of the current 25th network season, The Simpsons will have 530 episodes available for the first time on cable, a haul no other show on television is anywhere close to matching.  It also instantly places FXX, currently known as the place where It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League went, on the high-profile cable network map.  It’s a deal even Montgomery Burns would have to respect.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."