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USA, Sci-Fi share ‘Placid’ window

Diller's cablers lose out to FX for 'Blair'

NEW YORK — It may not be the best possible consolation prize, but Barry Diller’s USA Network and Sci-Fi Channel — outbid by Rupert Murdoch’s FX for the basic-cable-network rights to “The Blair Witch Project” — have picked up the exclusive network window to 20th Century Fox’s “Lake Placid.”

“Lake Placid,” a thriller about a menacing sea creature, has grossed $28.7 million in U.S. theaters so far, and if it hits $35 million, sources say USA and Sci-Fi will together pay about $5.2 million for multiple runs over a four-year license term.

Preem puzzle

While declining to discuss dollar figures, Neil Hoffman, senior VP of programming for USA, said it’s still not decided whether “Lake Placid” will premiere on USA or Sci-Fi, but both networks will end up playing it.

The movie becomes available to USA in February 2002. HBO has “Placid” in the exclusive pay TV window as part of a theatrical-output deal with 20th Century Fox.

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