Modern Family Finally Gets On TBS On Non-Exclusive Basis, Completing Nets Comedy Collection

It was the one that got away. For two decades, TBS boasted the biggest broadcast comedies of the 1990s and 2000s with Seinfeld, Friends and then The Big Bang Theory. But, in a surprise twist, USA Network, a novice in the off-network comedy space, stunned the competition in June 2010 by outbidding everyone to land Modern Family for what was believed to be a record $1.8M an episode.

More than thirteen years later, Modern Family is getting on TBS. Starting Sept. 25, the Emmy-winning family comedy will air weekdays from 12:30-3:30 PM. (Additionally, off-network juggernaut Big Bang, which rules TBS’ primetime, is getting its daytime marathons extended.) After a decade of exclusivity on NBCUniversal, the company will now share Modern Family with TBS after series’ producer/distributor 20th Television/Disney sold it to the Warner Bros. Discovery cable network in a shared syndication window.

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While Seinfeld left in 2021, Friends and The Big Bang Theory are still on TBS, along with Big Bang and Modern Family‘s successor as broadcast’s top comedy, Young Shelton. Modern Family completes TBS’ collection of 2000s, 2010s and 2020s network comedy hits, something the cable network is playing up in its promo. You can watch it below. (And for context, Big Bang, Young Sheldon, Friends, Seinfeld, as well as a pricey comedy acquisition that did not quite work out, 2 Broke Girls, are all produced by TBS sibling Warner Bros.; Modern Family is not.)

The short clip video is far cry from the elaborate, $10-million marketing campaign USA mounted for Modern Family‘s 2013 launch on the network, complete with elaborate promotional spots filmed by the Modern Family cast.

USA’s big bet in pursuit of bringing new audiences and higher ad rates as well as an expansion into comedy didn’t really pay off, and by 2021, Modern Family repeats were off the network. They currently run daily on NBCU sibling E!, the former TV home of the Kardashians which has emerged as a comedy brand, with Modern Family marathons sandwiched between long stretches of Saved By the Bell and Sex and the City.

Modern Family has still made important contributions to NBCU. Out of USA’s push into comedy programming to complement Modern Family, the network launched its biggest hit of the past decade, comedy reality series Chrisley Knows Best.

What’s more, thanks to USA’s syndication deal for Modern Family, NBCU’s streamer Peacock in 2021 was able to land the comedy series, sharing it with 20th Television sibling Hulu. The USA deal apparently locked digital rights in the basic-cable sphere, which NBCU used to get a seat at the streaming table. (Both Peacock and E! will continue to carry Modern Family following the deal with TBS.)

A good fit for streaming, Modern Family now also will be on a cable network where it should be a better fit, too.

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