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'Simpsons' Syndication Deal Might Be Getting Closer

In between dodging questions about a new sports network during News Corp.’s earnings call with analysts Wednesday, COO Chase Carey hinted that a deal to expand the syndication of The Simpsons could be a few pen strokes away.

The Simpsons‘ original syndication deal limits distribution to local broadcasters. Selling the animated series’ more than 500 episodes to cable could generate between $1 million and $2 million an episode, or about $750 million.

On Wednesday’s call, an analyst asked when second-cycle syndication of The Simpsons might happen.

“We’re hopefully getting close to a place where we can sort of try and add a dimension to it, but we still got a, I guess, call it a couple of i’s to dot and t’s to cross to try and get there, so I’m not going to get ahead of it,” Carey replied.

“I would think any probably to sort of speculate ahead of time what it’s worth, it is obviously as unique a franchise as exists in the television world now,” Carey said, praising the show. “I don’t think there’s anything else out there that has whatever it is, 500, 600 episodes, and it’s headed towards its 25th year. Animation’s great, because nobody ages.”

In addition to planning to turn its Speed channel into Fox Sports 1, News Corp. also is working on creating a second FX channel-FXX-that would focus on comedies for young adult viewers. The Simpsons might look good among Archer, Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.