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TBS Wins ‘Seinfeld’ Bidding War

September 15, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Now comes the fun part for the ``Seinfeld″ gang _ sit back and watch the money roll in.

TBS Superstation won a bidding war Monday to acquire cable syndication rights for 180 episodes of ``Seinfeld,″ reportedly agreeing to pay more than $100 million even though it won’t begin telecasting the show until 2002.

Although the run of original ``Seinfeld″ episodes ended in May, the syndication deal is one of several that guarantee Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer will continue on television sets for a long time to come.

``The general consensus is that it will be an evergreen,″ said Dick Kurlander, an expert on syndication for Petry Television. ``That’s what everybody is riding on. It better be, because the prices being paid for it are astronomical.″

``Seinfeld″ is expected to be the most profitable television show sold for syndication, he said.

TBS would not comment on what it paid for the rights and a spokesman for Columbia-TriStar TV Distribution, which sold the episodes, did not return telephone calls.

But according to Daily Variety, TBS agreed to pay more than $700,000 per episode for the shows. Other cable channels interested in acquiring ``Seinfeld″ were USA, the FX channel and Comedy Central.

Syndication deals negotiated years ago are responsible for ``Seinfeld″ reruns already appearing on broadcast networks across the country.

TBS has been aggressive in acquiring rights to movies and hit broadcast shows. Among the shows scheduled to air in reruns on TBS in the next decade are ``Friends,″ ``Home Improvement″ and ``The Drew Carey Show.″

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