The Conners heads into streaming and syndication.
Lionsgate’s Worldwide Television Distribution Group and Debmar-Mercury have partnered with the producer of the ABC sitcom, Werner Entertainment, for a licensing deal. The former will handle broadcast, including SVOD, AVOD and FAST outlets, and basic cable distribution, while Debmar-Mercury will handle broadcast syndication in the United States.
The deal covers all five of the show’s existing seasons, a library of 93 episodes, and also includes the rights to future seasons. ABC has renewed The Conners for a sixth season, which will ramp up after the writers’ and actors’ strikes are resolved.
“We are proud to have been selected by such a strong force in television as Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment to bring this incredible property to buyers around the world,” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide television distribution. “This deal showcases Lionsgate’s ability to bring together all of its resources, combining the strength and prowess of our global distribution with Debmar-Mercury’s unmatched syndication expertise in support of a remarkable brand and series.”
Although it has a streaming component, Lionsgate and Werner Entertainment’s deal to The Conners is something of a throwback: an independently produced network sitcom that sells to multiple outlets. Season episodes of the series stream on Hulu, but its full catalog has no streaming or off-network home.
“Lionsgate’s global reach and success across all platforms gives us great confidence that they will successfully bring The Conners to audiences around the world,” Werner said.
Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, co-chairmen of Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, added: “In the tradition of some of the longest-running and most successful multi-camera sitcoms, The Conners promises to be a great addition to television station rosters and will offer a proven competitive advantage to broadcasters for years to come. Tom Werner, along with Marcy Carsey and his creative team, have been responsible for many of the mega-comedies that helped build the broadcast business in the US. We are excited to be teaming up with Tom and the global distribution team by Jim Packer in The Conners.”