“Catastrophe” might soon be seen by a much larger fanbase.
Reruns of the romantic comedy’s first two seasons are set to run on Lifetime starting Friday, June 9, at 10 p.m. ET. Lifetime will air four back-to-back episodes each week. That should help expose the show, created by and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, to viewers that don’t regularly stream Amazon Prime series.
Amazon recently premiered the third season of “Catastrophe.” The show has been a critical darling since its premiere, but up until now has only been available in the United States to Amazon Prime members. That’s not a small audience, of course: Amazon hinted earlier this year that it has around 65 million Prime members. But only a fraction of that consumer base are believed to be regularly watching Amazon’s Prime Video offerings. (Obviously most members are sold on Prime’s shopping – and free shipping.)
But Amazon’s subscription levels are still dwarfed by cable. Despite ongoing industry concerns about cord cutting, Lifetime is available in nearly 96 million households (as of 2015). The show’s addition to Lifetime will clearly expose it to a much wider potential audience.
Because “Catastrophe” was not developed at Amazon, but rather commissioned by the U.K.’s Channel 4, producer Avalon Television retained second-window syndication rights for the show – hence the deal to air repeats on Lifetime, which first announced the “Catastrophe” acquisition last year. “Catastrophe” airs on a variety of outlets, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia, all over the world.
“Catastrophe” is one of several streaming series making their way to traditional U.S. linear TV in the coming months. That’s also a reminder that despite the frenzy toward digital streaming services, there’s still value in old school delivery systems.
Amazon, for example, also has a deal in place for SundanceTV to air the first two seasons of “Transparent” this summer. And as first reported by Broadcasting & Cable, Sony Pictures Television, which holds distribution rights to Netflix’s “House of Cards,” is shopping the Lionsgate-produced show to broadcast and cable networks.
The idea, of course, is to maximize revenue by finding outlets willing to pay for repeats after viewers have exhausted of episodes on their original streaming home. But don’t expect this to become a regular thing: These deals are mostly exceptions to the rule. Streaming services are eager to maintain exclusivity on their signature series (many, or most, of which they own) in order to convince users that it’s worth plopping down $10 a month. If consumers realized their favorite streaming shows would end up one day in syndication, they might be more willing to not pay, and instead wait. Ironically, of course, those same streaming outlet grew rapidly thanks to the availability of off-cable and off-broadcast comedies and dramas on their services.
“Catastrophe” also represents a rarity for Lifetime: A half-hour comedy for the network, which doesn’t have many. Lifetime has dabbled in sitcoms, but right now its only comedy appears to be early morning episodes of “How I Met Your Mother.”
Meanwhile, in other Lifetime news, the TV movie “Menendez: Blood Brothers” has a new premiere date: Sunday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET. The movie, starring Courtney Love, Nico Tortorella, Myco Olivier, and Benito Martinez, looks at the murders of Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty at the hands of their sons Lyle and Erik in 1989.
And Lifetime also picked up “Little Women: Monie Gets Married,” which debuts Wednesday, June 7, at 10 p.m. ET. The show, a spinoff of “Little Women: Atlanta,” follows Monie and Morlin as they prepare for their wedding.