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Big Bang, Big Expectations

NBCU’s 30 Rock may not be facing high ratings expectations as it prepares to launch in syndication this week, but that’s not the case for Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory.

That off-net sitcom, which airs on CBS at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, premieres in syndication on Sept. 19. Stations and TBS paid top dollar for the program, which is airing in access and late fringe across the country, and many stations have a lot riding on it.

“The biggest factor that Big Bang has to deal with is that in some markets the show will benefi t from being paired with Two and a Half Men, but in other markets the show will have to compete with Two and a Half Men,“ says Bill Carroll of Katz Television. “Big Bang doesn’t have the same clear playing field that Two and a Half Men had when it launched. I think it will be the most successful of the new entries, but it probably won’t achieve what Two and a Half Men did.”

Big Bang also will face another CBS Monday-night comedy— Twentieth’s How I Met Your Mother—in some markets. Station execs also point out that Two and a Half Men was exclusive to broadcast when it launched, while Big Bang will air on TBS starting Sept. 20.