Comedy Central has been caught horsin’ around. The cable network announced Thursday that it landed the off-network rights to “BoJack Horseman,” the acclaimed Netflix series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg and starring the voice of Will Arnett.
“BoJack Horseman” will continue to be available on Netflix, which will debut the show’s fifth season on Sept. 14. But this means the show will now also be available for the first time on linear TV and accessible to cable subscribers who don’t have Netflix. Comedy Central has acquired all current seasons of the series — which has so far produced 49 episodes over four seasons — to run this fall.
Comedy Central plans to air “BoJack” on Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET, starting Sept. 26. The show will be paired with “South Park,” which will debut its 22nd season starting that night. Comedy Central’s cc.com and network app will also carry selected episodes.
The network plans to run full, unedited episodes off the clock to accommodate for longer episodes. But in some dayparts (such as mornings) it will need to make trims to fit in the time slot. But Comedy Central isn’t planning on making any content trims or changes.
“Comedy Central has a long history of using potent satire to help make sense of trying times, so ‘BoJack Horseman’ is a perfect fit in our lineup,” said Tanya Giles, General Manager, Comedy Central. “We’re thrilled to be the first to put ‘BoJack’ on linear TV, and who better than an animated horse to teach us a thing or two about humanity?”
“BoJack” represents a rare example of a streaming show that has later been made available on linear TV. Streaming services generally now hold on to global rights on their shows, including programs produced both in-house and by outside studios. But there are exceptions, particularly with older shows and acquisitions. (Don’t expect to see many more deals like this, given the more recent move by streamers to lock programming rights up for all platforms.)
Amazon’s “Transparent” was sold to Sundance TV, while Lifetime acquired repeats of Amazon’s “Catastrophe.” Sony, which held off-network distribution rights to “House of Cards,” had made plans to take that show out, but it never struck a deal — and now, in light of the firing of star Kevin Spacey, such a move is unlikely.
Like many of those other shows, “BoJack Horseman” isn’t owned in-house by Netflix, which allowed producer The Tornante Company to shop the repeats. Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury signed on as distributor, and a deal was ultimately struck with Comedy Central through Viacom Program Acquisitions Group.
“’BoJack Horseman’ has been a groundbreaking show, defining the best in adult animated comedy just as ‘South Park’ was before it,” said Michael Eisner, founder of The Tornante Company. “It is very fitting that the two shows will air back to back on Comedy Central.”
“BoJack Horseman,” which first premiered on Netflix in August 2014, frequently tops critics’ lists, including at IndieWire. Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie and Paul F. Tompkins voice the show’s key characters, while Bob-Waksberg, Steven A. Cohen, Noel Bright, Arnett, and Paul are executive producers.
Here’s a promo created by Comedy Central to mark the news: