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EXCLUSIVE: Fox, Tribune Pick up ‘30 Rock' in Top Markets

NBC Universal's Emmy-winning 30 Rock has been to sold Fox and Tribune stations in top markets, said Barry Wallach, president of NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution on Wednesday. The show will debut in syndication in fall 2011.

The Fox and Tribune groups both bought the show on an all-barter basis, which is how most off-net sitcoms have been sold to TV stations in recent months due to the challenging economy and the difficulty TV stations are having coming up with cash. Stations will get four minutes of local advertising time in 30 Rock, while NBC Universal will get three minutes, and the show will be double-run six days a week in access and late-fringe time periods.

By comparison, Warner Bros.' recently sold The New Adventures of Old Christine to TV stations in a deal that netted Warner Bros. two minutes of barter and double runs six days per week. HBO took three minutes of barter in Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm, both of which also will air once per day, six days per week.

The deal is unusual in that Fox and Tribune agreed to divide the show amongst themselves. Thus, Fox will air the show on WNYW New York and KTTV Los Angeles, while Tribune will run the show on WGN Chicago. In addition, Fox agreed to air the show only on its Fox stations, as opposed to its weaker MyNetwork stations, according to sources.

Besides New York and Los Angeles, Fox picked up 30 Rock for KDFW Dallas, KRIV Houston, KSAZ Phoenix, WOFL Orlando and KMSP Minneapolis. Besides Chicago, Tribune will air the show on WPHL Philadelphia, WDCW Washington D.C., KCPQ Seattle, KRCW Portland, WSFL Miami, KSWB San Diego, KTXL Sacramento, WXMI Grand Rapids, WPMT Harrisburg and WNOL/WGNO New Orleans.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that the show has been sold to cable networks Comedy Central and WGN America for $800,000 per episode after a bidding war with TBS and E! Entertainment. 30 Rock's cable premiere will be concurrent with broadcast.

Sean O'Boyle, executive vice president/general sales manager, led the negotiations along with Wallach. Chuck Larsen, president of October Moon Television, served as the producers' representative.

Tina Fey is the creator, executive producer and star of 30 Rock, which also stars Emmy-winner Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer. It's produced by Lorne Michael's Broadway Video and Fey's Little Stranger in association with Universal Media Studios.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.