Emmy-nominated animated series BoJack Horseman, itself a Netflix Original Series from Raphael Bob-Waksberg, has just done something unusual if not unprecedented. The awards-worthy series’ syndication rights were in the process of being shopped around by Debmar-Mercury throughout this year and now, as the fruits of that labor, Comedy Central has acquired the hit show’s first five seasons. The Viacom network will premiere their reruns of BoJack Horseman starting Wednesday, September 26th, just after the Season 22 premiere of the channel’s flagship series, South Park.
That’s quite the comedy pairing for the late-night, mid-week Comedy Central crowd. Curiously, the series premiere in syndication will arrive more than a week after the Season 5 premiere on Netflix on Friday, September 14th. Much like the title character itself, BoJack is all over the place. It’s a lucrative move for both Netflix and the show’s producers since syndication funnels in “free money” for a proven series that’s already produced; that symbiotic relationship used to exist solely in the sphere of broadcast and cable TV, but Netflix’s streaming service is once again pioneering all-new arrangements. At the end of the day, it means there’s more BoJack to be found in more places, and that’s something everyone can enjoy.
On September 26, Hollywood’s favorite washed-up sitcom star (who is also a horse) is bringing all his issues to Comedy Central.
Tanya Giles, General Manager, Comedy Central, had this to say in the announcement:
“Comedy Central has a long history of using potent satire to help make sense of trying times, so BoJack Horseman is a perfect fit in our lineup. We’re thrilled to be the first to put BoJack on linear TV, and who better than an animated horse to teach us a thing or two about humanity? Straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Comedy Central’s deal includes all five current seasons (and that’s all, as far as we know now) of BoJack Horseman, syndication rights on its channel, and select streaming of certain episodes on its website and app. BoJack follows up on the Sundance TV off-network deal for Amazon’s Transparent, becoming the first Netflix Original Series to sell in syndication, but likely not the last should this partnership prove lucrative.
Michael Eisner of BoJack production company Tornante Co. said:
“BoJack Horseman has been a groundbreaking show, defining the best in adult animated comedy just as South Park was before it. It is very fitting that the two shows will air back-to-back on Comedy Central.”
The network has also recently locked down syndication runs for all four seasons of Seth MacFarlane‘s The Cleveland Show and 13 seasons of Mike Judge‘s King of the Hill.
It’s too early to predict a pattern here, but if more deals like this are made in the future, we could end up with a TV landscape in which original series are increasingly produced for streaming platforms, followed by syndication runs on both the parent platform and any traditional network that wants to pick them up and pump up their ratings and viewership numbers. That’s a very different world from the transitional one we’re currently living in, but within a decade or two it could very well be the norm.