BoJackHorsemanNetflix

Netflix cuts first original series syndication deal to cable TV - could more follow?

Contributed by
Jul 26, 2018

Could we one day catch last year’s Stranger Things season in a Halloween-themed binge marathon on AMC? A spree of second-run Trollhunters episodes on Cartoon Network? Or maybe a weekend session of Netflix’s Marvel shows in re-runs on WGN America? 

We don’t know those answers yet, but we do know this: Netflix has just cut its first deal to sell syndication rights for one of its original shows to a cable network, an indicator that Netflix originals could possess the same kind of staying power that for decades has given popular network programming a nearly eternal twilight home in the land of endless repeats.

According to TV Line, the streaming giant has struck a deal with Comedy Central to syndicate past episodes of its original animated series BoJack Horseman (which is entering its fifth season on Netflix), in the process handing Comedy Central exclusive second-run rights to put Will Arnett’s jaded, faded, former equine celebrity in front of a cord-connected audience.

Netflix doesn’t publicize hard viewership numbers, but the move itself indicates the lasting demand that makes some of its original movies and shows just as appealing as conventional repeat fodder from network and cable outlets: the Battlestar Galacticas, Star Trek: Deep Space Nines, and Big Bang Theories of the traditional set-top box audience.

It also extends Netflix’s brand into potentially untapped demographics, segments of the entertainment-consuming public that may still have little more than a passing recognition of what subscription video on demand — and the kind and quality of the content it’s creating — is really all about. In the end, that may be the biggest gain of all for Netflix, which continues to enjoy increasing sign-up numbers — even as cable subscription numbers are declining. 

Comedy Central viewers will get their first look at the BoJacks of Netflix past beginning Sept. 26, when Season 1 repeats hit the channel in the sweet 10:30 ET time slot that follows all-new episodes of Comedy Central’s own hit animated series, South Park. Over on Netflix, meanwhile, new episodes of BoJack Horseman are just around the corner: Season 5 bolts out the gate on the streaming service starting on Sept. 14.

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