Spelling’s on the rise

Fourth-quarter earnings at Spelling Entertainment Inc. more than doubled as the company continued to ride the success of its “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place” skeins.

And had the company not spent $ 2 million to reduce debt, before payments were due, those numbers would have looked even better.

‘Stand’ stands up

The two mainstay series, as well as midseason orders for “Winnetka Road” and “Burke’s Law,” continued to perform for the programmer. And Stephen King’s eight-hour miniseries “The Stand” scared up big numbers for Spelling, as did its homevid distribution of “Happily Ever After,” an animated feature.

For the quarter, Spelling earned $ 6.9 million (11 cents), compared with $ 3. 1 million (6 cents) in the like period a year ago. Revenue was $ 97.7 million, up from $ 64.4 million.

For the year, the company earned $ 17.7 million (31 cents), vs. $ 9.8 million (19 cents) in 1992. Revenue was $ 274.9 million, up from $ 257.5 million.

Spelling’s operating income, which doesn’t include the one-time debt-reduction, climbed threefold to $ 9.2 million in the quarter and to $ 23.7 million for the year.

Wrapping Republic deal

Spelling is in the midst of acquiring Republic Pictures, a deal it expects to close by March 31. It also received a new $ 175 million credit facility from Blockbuster Entertainment Corp., which owns 70.5% of Spelling.

Of that money, $ 100 million will go toward buying Republic and the other $ 75 million will fund Spelling’s ongoing capital needs. The credit line replaces a $ 90 million facility Spelling had with a group of banks.

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