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Viacom takes Seinfeld cable rights

Viacom has picked up exclusive US cable rights to the Seinfeld back catalogue, just a week after Netflix paid a reported US$500m for worldwide streaming rights to the classic sitcom.

Seinfeld

Viacom has bought the rights to the show from its distributor Sony Pictures Television and will start airing it across its US cablenets from 2021.

The full library of 180 episodes will air on Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land while catch-up episodes will be available through Viacom brands via authenticated video-on-demand, websites and apps.

It has spent the last 19 years repeating on WarnerMedia-owned cablenet TBS.

The deal comes just a week after Netflix announced its blockbuster acquisition of the show’s streaming rights, which currently lie with Hulu, from 2021.

That deal is part of escalating content wars amidst the big streaming players that has also seen NBCUniversal take on The Office for its Peacock streamer and HBO Max taking on all 12 seasons of the Big Bang Theory in recent days.

Created by star Jerry Seinfeld alongside Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Seinfeld first appeared on US broadcast network NBC in 1989 and aired until 1998. It is a West/Shapiro production in association with Castle Rock Entertainment.

The deal was closed by Barbara Zaneri, executive VP of Viacom global programme acquisitions, and Flory Bramnick, executive VP of US distribution at Sony Pictures Television, for an undisclosed sum.

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