Hallmark prod’n pact for ‘Border’ mini

Hallmark Entertainment has forged alliances with two TV movie production entities, inking a deal with Von Zerneck-Sertner Films and spinning off RHI Entertainment execs Larry Strichman and George Stelzner under a new production banner, LGS Entertainment.

As their first major production, LGS and Von Zerneck-Sertner (who’ll function separately but also will jointly produce certain projects) have snagged rights to “The Bridges of Madison County” author Robert James Waller’s follow-up, “Border Music,” which they intend to produce as a four-hour ABC miniseries.

Sources say the parties have agreed to shell out more than $1 million for rights to the novel – a huge sum for a TV miniseries. The deal was negotiated by Creative Artists Agency and literary agent Aaron Priest.

Both Von Zerneck-Sertner and LGS will feed product into Hallmark’s distribution pipeline. LGS will be a subsidiary of Hallmark, while Von Zerneck-Sertner has a joint-venture relationship with the company.

The parties will develop their own projects (with funding from Hallmark) and also will produce movies toward fulfilling an order for eight to 10 movies by Fox Broadcasting Co., which plans to air them next year under the “Hallmark Presents” banner.

Hallmark will distribute product from Von Zerneck-Sertner, LGS, RHI Entertainment (Hallmark chairman Robert Halmi Sr.’s New York-based label) and Signboard Hill Prods.

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