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Marquee has Tollin/Robbins

Company making play for pix

NEW YORK — Sports-marketing company the Marquee Group has bought Tollin/Robbins Prods., which produces the half-hour HBO comedy “Arli$$.”

“We’re going to become the filmed-entertainment division of Marquee,” says Michael Tollin, a partner in the company. Marquee paid $22 million for the L.A.-based Tollin/Robbins, which also includes a division that manages actors, writers and directors.

Marquee, based in New York, is itself about to be acquired in a $100 million stock deal by SFX Entertainment, one of largest live-entertainment promoters in the U.S.

Brian Robbins, the other Tollin/Robbins partner, says his company doesn’t own any of the negatives of the programs the partnership has produced over the years, a strategy that won’t change under the new ownership. Tollin/Robbins produces the TV series “Kenan & Kel,” “All That” and the forthcoming “Cousin Skeeter” for Nickelodeon.

It has also produced two Paramount theatricals, the kid-oriented “Good Burger,” starring Kenan & Kel, and “Varsity Blues,” with Jon Voight and James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”), which has a tentative release date of next January.

Tollin says the bigger bankroll provided by Marquee will allow him to feel comfortable about producing TV series for the primetime schedules of the broadcast nets, saying that three series projects are in development.

Marquee manages athletes and sportscasters, and is a marketer, TV producer and consultant involved in every sport from tennis and hockey to basketball and baseball. Robert F.X. Sillerman, exec chairman of SFX Entertainment, set up the original financing for Marquee, which opened its doors in December 1995, led by its president-CEO Bob Gutkowski.

Marquee also says it has completed the previously announced purchase of three other media companies: Park Associates, Alphabet City Records and Cambridge Sports Intl.

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