Market Overview

Biggest TV Syndication Deals Besides 'The Simpsons'

The Simpsons recently earned an impressive $1 million per episode from FXX, the spinoff network from FX.

It's a huge deal that could be worth more than $750 million over the life of the series, assuming that the show continues to provide new episodes.

If not, FXX will still have to pay more than $500 million to complete its Simpsons collection.

That's big money, but on a per episode basis, there are other shows that have made so much more. Click through the slideshow to some of the biggest money makers in syndication history.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this slideshow.

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    The Cosby Show

    The Cosby Show

    There's a lot of talk about how much money modern TV shows pull in, but it seems that The Cosby Show still holds the overall record.

    According to How to Manage Your Agent: A Writer’s Guide to Hollywood Representation by Gervich Chad, The Cosby Show made an astonishing $4 million per episode across 172 local stations.

    Other, more modern shows could eventually eclipse that total as they are spread across multiple networks over time. For now, however, The Cosby Show reigns supreme.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Seinfeld

    Seinfeld

    Seinfeld was sold into syndication for $3 million per episode.

    That's less than The Cosby Show, but Seinfeld may have had the last laugh.

    As of April 2013, the show had earned $3 billion from syndication alone, amounting to roughly $17 million per episode.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    The Sopranos

    The Sopranos

    HBO paid a pretty penny to produce The Sopranos.

    It may have profited significantly from increased HBO subscribers, but the network still decided to charge a large fee to any network that wanted to rebroadcast the show.

    In 2007, A&E paid an astonishing $2.5 million per episode.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    NCIS: Los Angeles

    NCIS: Los Angeles

    The NCIS franchise is currently the biggest on television, so when the producers told USA that it would have to pay $2.2 million for each episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, the network complied.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    The Mentalist

    The Mentalist

    Not to be outdone, TNT also paid $2.2 million for a show.

    But it wasn't for another version of NCIS. TNT paid big money for another hit CBS drama -- The Mentalist.

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    CSI: NY

    CSI: NY

    Another hit franchise that hit it big syndication, CSI: NY earned a reported $1.9 million per episode from Spike alone.

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    The Big Bang Theory

    The Big Bang Theory

    The Big Bang Theory received one of the biggest syndication deals of all time.

    TBS paid $1.5 million per episode, while Fox broadcast stations agreed to pay $500,000 for each episode.

    This brought the grand total to $2 million per episode -- and that was back in 2010!

    As The Big Bang Theory expands and scores additional syndication deals, expect the show to earn additional funds and break additional records.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Modern Family

    Modern Family

    After bringing quality, family entertainment back to ABC, Modern Family scored high ratings, critical acclaim and a number of awards.

    Now the show has become a syndication cash cow, pulling in $1.4 million from TBS alone.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    The Simpsons

    The Simpsons

    The Simpsons almost seems like a small fry compared to the other big players on TV, earning just $1 million per episode from FXX.

    The Simpsons is not your average series, however. More than 500 episodes have already been produced. By the time the show ends its run, it may have crossed 700 episode mark.

    In that scenario, the show could earn more than $750 million -- making it one of the biggest overall syndication deals, despite earning less per episode.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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