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'Chris' Finds Love With Nick at Nite

Nick at Nite has acquired CBS' off-net sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, for a fall 2009 premiere, say sources familiar with the deal.

The show already is cleared in off-net broadcast syndication for fall 2009, with 52% of the country covered and deals signed with stations from the Fox, CBS, Cox and Weigel station groups.

Estimates value the non-exclusive Nick deal at $450,000 an episode, including two minutes of national barter for the first three years of the four-year deal.

Everybody Hates Chris, which is executive-produced by Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi, airs on The CW on Sundays at 8 p.m., and is averaging 2.4 million viewers season-to-date and a 0.9 rating/3 share season-to-date among adults 18-34, down 19% among all viewers and 18% among adults 18-34 from this time last year.

But few shows on The CW get much beyond a 1 rating, so for Nick at Nite Chris is a rerun that will still seem fresh to many viewers. And with a dearth of available off-net sitcoms for syndication, Everybody Hates Chris has value that exceeds its paltry ratings.

Last summer, TBS picked up NBC Universal's The Office and Twentieth's My Name Is Earl, paying an estimated $600,000-$700,000 an episode for each show. TBS is getting an exclusive window for both shows, with The Office beginning last fall and Earl starting this month. Stations are expected to start airing both shows in fall 2009.

Nick at Nite is owned by Viacom, which spun off CBS, the half-owner of The CW, into its own company in December 2005. Viacom retained ownership of Paramount Pictures and the cable networks—including Nickelodeon, MTV and Showtime—while CBS owns the slower-growth broadcast, radio and outdoor assets. Warner Bros. is the other major owner of The CW.