The Syndication Status of Modern Family

USA / 20th Century Fox Television

ABC / 20th Century Fox Television / USA

Years ago, hit sitcoms didn’t reach syndication status until they were off the airwaves of their home network for a while. Like most things in media the timeline has jumped significantly. USA announced last spring that  Modern Family would be in syndication on the network as USA attempts to expand into the comedy realm. The move proved to be a fairly successful one. As the show entered its fifth season on ABC, ratings for reruns on USA have been fairly solid.

Coincidentally, USA has been much more effective at using transmedia to engage viewers of the Modern Family programming block, especially on their heavily promoted Modern Family Fridays (#TGIMF ) via the Twitter account Modern Family Nation. As a matter of fact, I engaged with the hashtaggery one fine Friday, and got retweeted by the account:

Fun stuff, right? It’s telling that USA, a network that in some ways has been struggling in ratings in recent years, is willing to use a show like Modern Family as a launching pad for their push toward more comedy programming. It’s fitting considering at the time the network announced the syndication move, they also announced the premiere of a new original comedy series called SirensSirens itself is actually much more cable, less network in its dialogue, but so far it is just as funny as Modern Family. Just a bit cruder without being tasteless. The style of humor is one that fits USA: smart and witty. Those two traits actually fit the general style of comedy in both new shows to USA’s line up. It’s certainly a welcome change from the crime-dramas, although I’m partial to Law & Order: SVU and in the past I was a huge Burn Notice fan. With the hit comedy Psych ending, it makes sense that the network is looking to add more comedies to their programming.

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7 thoughts on “The Syndication Status of Modern Family

  1. Everything about this is brilliant! I have been meaning to look further into Modern Family’s move to syndication for a while now and am so glad you chose to write about this topic. I think USA chose the perfect show to help launch the network into comedy spectrum of television. Like you mentioned, USA’s transmedia strategies are very effective and they do a great job at continuing the conversation off screen. It’s so cool that you got a re-tweet! Do you interact with television networks often through social media?

    • I do! In the case of Modern Family on USA, I tweeted during an episode – the one with Mitch and the pigeon in the house – using the #MOFY and #ModernFamily and the USA/Modern Family account for the programming block retweeted me!

  2. I wonder why they would make the move for syndication. In a sense, shows like Modern Family is already getting that kind of distribution on Hulu Plus but not Netflix. Are they trying to experiment with syndicating shows over releasing them to online broadcasters? I’m not sure I understand what that does. I guess it’s a way to introduce people who don’t subscribe to those services to the show. I don’t know. I don’t watch Modern Family, so I couldn’t speak as a fan or foe.

  3. USA syndication is the reason my family started watching Modern Family. The nightly marathons have been a great introduction to the show. I like that you pointed out transmedia, because it is true that USA uses it constantly for Modern Family, to the point that it almost becomes distracting. I feel like USA is really pushing for success with this syndication because their ratings are diminishing, and they aren’t quite reaching the numbers they had hoped. They are trying a little too hard to get people to engage, which isn’t a vote of confidence for the show.

  4. I love that the show is in syndication on USA Network. But a little funny from me, after I had been saying for years that I was going to watch the show and after spending weeks downloading all five seasons (don’t judge me), I watched them all and within the same month of doing so it started on USA lol While I respect any network using Twitter or any social media to engage with their viewers..I just don’t understand Twitter. Hey, if it works though, so be it…

  5. I thought it was pretty interesting how quickly Modern Family went into syndication. It just shows you how successful the show has been. I’m glad it is syndicated though, because it seems like it is always on, and it is easy to catch an episode. USA is really trying hard with their social tv strategy, but it has been a little distracting. Several times during an episode annoying polls will pop up that do not really serve that much of a purpose, but I guess it does make the show more interactive.

  6. I don’t watch USA very often, but I think the network’s push for syndicating Modern Family is a good move. I find it amazing that a show like Modern Family, that hasn’t been on air for too long, is doing so well over several mediums and several networks. I know that Peachstreet TV on basic local programming carries Modern Family and I think it replaced The Office.

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