Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has sold off-net sitcom The Middle to TV stations covering more than 92% of the country, as well as to ABC Family in a shared cable window. The show will premiere in broadcast and cable syndication in fall 2013.
The Middle, which airs in ABC's Wednesday night comedy block, has been acquired by station groups Tribune, Sinclair, CBS, Communications Corp., Raycom, Newport, Belo, Cox, Local TV, New Age Media, Titan, Grant, News Press & Gazette, Barrington, Mission, Venture, LIN, Pappas, Weigel, Acme, and others, said Ken Werner, president, and Rick Meril, executive VP/general sales manager of WBDTD, in a statement.
"We are in a new golden age for sitcoms both on the broadcast networks and syndication," said Werner. "Stations have been the bedrock destination for off net sitcoms for generations and it is part of their heritage and brand. Our station partners recognized in The Middle a compelling player that would energize their sitcom blocks in 2013 and beyond."
"The Middle will set the table for stations," said Meril. "The show has grown in each of its three seasons and jumpstarts ABC's prime at 8pm. Most importantly, The Middle repeats like an A-list sitcom. Stations have taken notice and have responded quickly."
The serieswill join ABC's highly-rated Modern Family, which is being distributed in syndication by Twentieth Television, in its fall 2013 premiere.
The Middle stars Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn as Frankie and Mike Heck, two time-starved parents who are struggling to raise three kids. The show was created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, who serve as executive producers. Itis produced by Blackie and Blondie Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
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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.