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Viacom extends exclusive comedy rights

The Office: airing on Viacom’s Comedy Central

US media giant Viacom has extended its exclusive cable rights for hit sitcoms The Office and Parks and Recreation to air on Comedy Central following a new pact with NBCUniversal.

The Viacom-owned comedy channel will exclusively air The Office through 2021, after which the series will continue to air through a non-exclusive window on Viacom Media Networks until 2025.

Similarly, Parks and Recreation will continue to air exclusively on Comedy Central through 2024.

The deal was secured for an undisclosed amount by Viacom’s executive VP of programme acquisitions group, Barbara Zaneri.

Previously this year, Viacom acquired the exclusive cable rights to hit 80s sitcom Seinfeld.

Classic sitcoms have become hot properties for the big streaming platforms in the US this year as the content arms race between them heats up.

The Office had been one of the most popular shows on Netflix but NBCUniversal has been clawing back rights from the streaming giant ahead of the launch of its own Peacock streamer next year.

Netflix also lost its back catalogue of Friends to WarnerMedia’s HBO Go and subsequently paid a reported US$500m to secure Seinfeld for its subscribers.

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