Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WGN America and Esquire Network Acquire Parks and Recreation for September 2013; G4 Rebrands as Esquire Network

Parks and Recreation

National cable network WGN America has acquired the off-network rights to the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation and will begin airing it this September, 2013. The sitcom has not been cleared for local broadcast syndication and was being pitched for Fall 2014 at NATPE. So the series will likely premiere on cable first in syndication rather than the normal local broadcast five-days-a-week syndication. The comedy has more than enough episodes for syndication but NBCUniversal is likely going more after a SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) play. The series is currently airing in its fifth season and by this fall it will have 90 episodes in the can, which is just enough for syndication and weekday play. The series has not yet been renewed for a sixth season on NBC, but with NBC losing The Office and 30 Rock after this season, it is more than likely Parks will be back. It is unclear how WGN America will schedule the series, but currently WGN America airs comedies 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rules of Engagement, How I Met Your Mother, Old Christine, Futurama and Scrubs. WGN America will not have exclusive cable rights like usual, as all of those series above can also be found elsewhere. WGN America will share the cable rights for Parks and Recreation with G4, but more on that below (including a name change for G4).

From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Greg Daniels (NBC's The Office, King of the Hill) and Michael Schur (NBC's The Office, Saturday Night Live), Parks and Recreation is a hilarious ensemble comedy that follows Leslie Knope (Emmy nominee Poehler, NBC's Saturday Night Live) a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and her tireless efforts to make her quintessentially American town just a little bit more fun. The series also stars Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Chris Prat, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe.


We haven't talked about this yet, but the G4 network will be rebranding again and this time the new name will be the Esquire Network (yep, like the magazine). And they will also air off-network cable runs of Parks and Recreation this fall. Beginning April 22, 2013, the G4 network will be rebranded the Esquire Network. The network is a strategic partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines to create the only television network aimed at the full, multi-faceted lives of today's modern men. Esquire Network will expand on G4's foundation of games, gear and gadgets to reflect the broad range of interests, passions and aspirations that define men today. Appealing to men's intelligence as well as their sense of adventure, Esquire Network's programming will capture the classic voice, impeccable style and unmistakable wit that have come to define Esquire, the original men's magazine and premier authority on contemporary man. Diverse program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology, but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more.

The network will feature a blend of unscripted and scripted series, and movies and specials that appeal to today's man. Partnering with the industry's top producers and talent, the Esquire Network team is developing a slate of engaging all-new original series such as Knife Fight, a passionate celebration of food, executive produced by Drew Barrymore, Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment. Hosted by "Top Chef" winner Ilan Hall, Knife Fight is an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies. Another original series, The Getaway (working title), is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero and features travel-loving, well known personalities - people deservedly famous for excellence in their fields - who take viewers to their favorite city on the planet, giving the insiders' track on their top spots to eat, drink, shop and hang out.

Fan favorite competition series American Ninja Warrior will return for its fifth season, to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Additionally, Esquire Network will complement its slate of original programming with ambitious and witty scripted series that include reruns of NBC's Emmy-nominated comedy, Parks and Recreation, and the critically acclaimed series from STARZ, Party Down, which aired in 2009-10. Additional programming announcements will be made in the coming weeks. We hope we have some more comedies to go along with Parks and Recreation and Party Down. Stay with us!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Gates Excitation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Penny gets the opportunity to host Bill Gates at work when his company wants to partner with her pharmaceutical company. Also, Leonard, Koothrappali and Wolowitz do everything in their power to meet him, while Sheldon thinks he is the victim of an April Fools prank.

Young Sheldon - "A Computer, A Plastic Pony, And A Case of Beer" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon asks for a computer and unknowingly sparks a heated argument between Mary and George Sr. over the family’s finances.

Mom - "Fancy Crackers and Giant Women" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie suffers withdrawal after giving up cable TV to help Christy pay for her law school applications, and the women rally around Jill after she has a breakdown in her favorite department store.

Life in Pieces - "Settlement Pacifier Attic Unsyncing" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the entire Hughes family moves into John and Joan’s home after their kitchen is destroyed, their presence creates chaos for Joan. Also, Matt and Colleen are set to receive a huge monetary settlement from Colleen’s fall off the motel balcony on their wedding night; John tries to get Sophia back on track when she starts misbehaving; Tyler and Clementine make a surprise announcement to the family; and Jen and Greg attempt to persuade Lark to get rid of her pacifier.

Nobodies - "Alone Star State" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Mark-Paul and Rachel attend the Independent Spirit Awards together; an unassuming Hugh joins Larry in Austin, Texas, to teach unauthorized Groundlings-style seminars to a group of Texas businesspeople.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Thursday, May 24

  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Catch Mindy on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Ted is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig visits Conan at 11pm on TBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne/The McCarthys/The Big Bang Theory) - Laurie stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Kelsey chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Amy and Nick are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about Red Nose Day and Hollywood Game Night on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Daphne Maxwell Reid (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Eve/Let's Stay Together) - Daphne makes her mother Rosalee's waffles on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Oliver is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is part of the panel on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest