‘Cider’ is apple of Moonves’ Eye

Oscar-nominated pic may cost CBS between $6 and $7 mil

CBS has aced out ABC in landing the network TV rights to Miramax’s “The Cider House Rules.”

The price depends on its final box office tally, but estimates are pic will fetch somewhere between $6 and $7 million. Eye will get multiple runs of “Cider” starting in fall 2002.

Deal was highly unusual in that CBS Television topper Leslie Moonves and Harvey Weinstein, co-head of Miramax Films, negotiated it directly, bypassing the usual channels, sources said.

“Rules” is “a perfect fit” for CBS, a network source said, because the network has established a largely family-oriented movie franchise on Sunday night after the highly rated “Touched by an Angel.”

It was assumed ABC had the inside track on “Rules” because Miramax is ABC’s sister company; both are divisions of the Walt Disney Co. But CBS, using Moonves as its only negotiator, managed to snag the film instead.

The license fee will be dependent on the final domestic box office gross of the movie, which could get a major lift if it wins come Oscar time. Film is up for seven awards, including best pic.

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