Turner Broadcasting System Inc. last week secured some significant film and series acquisitions, reaching a major long-term output deal with DreamWorks SKG for its movies and gaining the off-network rights to Twentieth Television's NYPD Blue.
"The DreamWorks deal and the NYPD Blue
deal are coups for the network," TBS Inc. president of program planning and acquisitions Robert Levi said. "We have pre-empted … formidable [competing] cable networks without them being involved at all."
In the first broadcast-output window deal between a basic-cable programmer and a major studio, TBS' DreamWorks pact affords Turner Network Television, TBS Superstation and Cartoon Network access to up to 60 films in that window.
These films will be available to the Turner channels exclusively, immediately after their license to a broadcast network. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources estimated its worth at $350 million to $400 million.
Coupled with a previously announced syndication-window deal, the new pact gives the Turner channels access to virtually every DreamWorks film from 1997 through 2007.
The agreement with the studio gives TNT and TBS — which have secured access to more theatricals than any other commercial networks — the rights to the best picture Academy Award winners from 2000 and 1999, Gladiator
and American Beauty.
Turner and Court TV also collared off-network rights to Steven Bochco's series NYPD Blue, after Bochco and News Corp. settled a lawsuit over disputed syndicated rates.
Neither Court TV nor TNT will likely air the series until 2002. Court TV has exclusive primetime and weekend rights, while TNT has control in other dayparts.