Comedy Central has acquired exclusive basic cable syndication rights to FX's comedy series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and will begin airing the series in summer 2010.
The Twentieth Television-produced series, currently airing its fifth season on FX, will have a limited summer 2010 run and then settle into its long-term, multi-year run in January 2011, according to Comedy Central executives.
"With an outstanding cast, superlative writing and stories that you have to see to believe, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the most outrageous comedies on television," said David Bernath, senior vice president, programming for Comedy Central in a statement.
FX will air a sixth and seventh season of Sunny that will run in 2010 and 2011 respectively, according to Comedy. FX Productions will have produced 84 episodes though season seven.
The series, which stars Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito as self-centered owners of a Philadelphia-based Irish Pub who will do just about anything to better their own situation, is enjoying a strong season five campaign from a viewership perspective, averaging 1.8 million viewers -- up 40% versus season four numbers.
The deal marks the first time an original comedy series has been syndicated from a basic cable network to another basic cable network, said network executives. FX in 2005 sold the bacis cable syndication rights to its drama series The Shield to Spike TV.
"'Sunny's' trajectory from home brewed pilot to pop culture phenomenon has been one of the most gratifying successes in FX's history," said John Landgraf, FX president in a statement. "We have enormous respect for Comedy Central's outstanding brand within both the comedy business and basic cable. We trust that they will enjoy and benefit from this remarkable show."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.