Is the world ready for Marge Simpson five days a week? Does the world have a choice? Come 1995, Marge and her animated brood from Fox Broadcasting Co.'s The Simpsons will head into reruns. So will Walt Disney's hit sitcom Home Improvement. After years of weak demand for syndication, these two shows are hot: The Simpsons should fetch a total of $2 million per episode and Home Improvement $3 million.
The rerun market has been in a funk since 1986, when TV stations paid mightily for The Cosby Show--only to be disappointed when ratings didn't justify the price. Now, those deals for Cosby and other high-priced shows have expired and stations have cash to spend on newer fare. And the prospect of 500 channels has some programmers convinced they must spend for shows that will stand out.
Another offering that should do just that: Seinfeld. Distributor Columbia Pictures Television has been dangling the show before TV-station buyers for months. Expected to rerun in 1995, Seinfeld could fetch more than $2 million an episode.