The Simpsons has been on the air for 24 years but has never aired reruns on cable. That’s about to change as FX’s new sister network FXX just purchased the syndication rights to the series, The New York Times reports. FXX, which is owned by 20th Century Fox, now has the rights to the 530 episodes that make up the show’s first 24 seasons, and they’re going to start airing them in August of 2014.
FXX got the rights to Simpsons reruns after an intense bidding war that also included TBS and Adult Swim. The terms of the deal were not made public, but the price of each episode was estimated to be between $1 and $2 million, with the overall value of the 500+ package estimated between $550 million and a little over a billion in what’s being called “the biggest syndication deal ever.” The deal also includes streaming and VOD rights. The Simpsons has been airing in syndication on local broadcast stations, mostly Fox affiliates, since 1993. Unlike other hits like Seinfeld or Friends, it hasn’t been made available to cable broadcasters in addition to that, until now.
News came out that Simpsons reruns were being shopped around in September. There’s no word on what FXX’s streaming/VOD plans are, but the show has never been available online in bulk, with Fox’s website only playing the five most recent episodes. The Simpsons, the longest-running primetime scripted show of all-time, is currently in the midst of its 25th season and was recently renewed for a 26th, taking it into at least 2015.