COMEDY CENTRAL has reached a deal with Twentieth Television for the exclusive basic cable syndication rights to the critically-acclaimed FX comedy series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” in a multi-year deal that will see the series start its run on COMEDY CENTRAL beginning in summer 2010, it was announced today by Steve MacDonald, EVP, General Sales Manager, Basic Cable of Twentieth Television, John Landgraf, President & General Manager FX, and David Bernath, senior vice president, programming, COMEDY CENTRAL. Following the limited summer 2010 window, the series will settle into its long-term, multi-year run in January 2011.
In regards to the announcement, Bernath stated, “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. The Gang from Paddy’s Pub will feel right at home when they hit our schedule next summer.”
First-run seasons of “Sunny” will continue to air on FX. In addition to its current fifth season that runs through November 5, the network has ordered seasons six and seven which will air in 2010 and 2011 respectively. FX Productions will have produced 84 episodes though season seven.
MacDonald added, “Crossing a series from one hugely successful cable brand to another speaks volumes to the show’s loyal viewers and skyrocketing ratings. Greg Meidel, President of Twentieth Television and I are thrilled that COMEDY CENTRAL will place ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ beside the network’s strong slate of cutting-edge programming; further elevating this hilarious series and introducing a unique cast of characters to new audiences.”
Landgraf added, “‘Sunny’s’ trajectory from home brewed pilot to pop culture phenomenon has been one of the most gratifying successes in FX’s history. This is also a watershed moment in television – the first time a comedy has syndicated from a basic cable network to another basic cable network. 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.”
Crude, controversial, outlandish, and downright hilarious, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” premiered on FX on August 4, 2005. The half-hour series, starring Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito, is currently in its 5th season and features the cast as self-centered owners of Paddy’s Irish Pub in Philadelphia who will do just about anything, no matter how reprehensible, in an attempt to better their own situation. Serious issues such as racism, abortion, underage drinking, molestation, gun control, cancer and death somehow weave their way into the cockeyed universe of “The Gang.” The characters are experts on every subject but actually possess expertise in nothing at all. They often use revisionist history to bolster their self-worth, which contrasts sharply with the true reality of their lives.
Initially shot by McElhenney, Howerton and Day on a hand-held digital camera and edited on a home computer for $200 – most of which went to pay for pizza and the cost of gasoline to drive to location shoots – FX picked up the show and re-shot the pilot (for a price significantly higher than that of the original $200). “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” was created by McElhenney and is executive produced by McElhenney, Day and Howerton. Michael Rotenberg and Nick Frenkel are also executive producers. The series is produced by FX Productions and distributed by Twentieth Television.
The critically acclaimed “Sunny” has shown ratings growth in each of its four seasons, rising from cult favorite to hit status. Through five weeks of season five, the series has posted significant gains of +62% among Men 18-34, +55% among Adults 18-49, +51% among Adults 18-34 and +40% in total viewers versus its fourth season. For 2009-to-date among all scripted basic cable series, “Sunny” ranks #3 in delivery of Adults 18-34 and Men 18-34.