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Inside Move: ABC, Hallmark exploring ‘Dinotopia’ series deal

$85 mil miniseries deal firms up

ABC is negotiating with Hallmark Entertainment to buy 22 hourlong episodes of a proposed “Dinotopia” series that would carry forward the story of the six-hour, $85 million miniseries, which the network plans to air this season.

That’s the word from Robert Halmi Sr., executive producer of “Dinotopia,” who said the series negotiations are separate from the deal for the mini that ABC and Hallmark worked out two years ago. Pic is based on the bestselling books by James Gurney, which focus on a time when intelligent dinos co-exist with humans.

Other sources say if ABC decides not to commit to the series, Hallmark will try to shop it to other broadcast networks.

Indeed, insiders said Hallmark may already have started working on scripts for the series.

Halmi said the Hallmark Channel is committed to taking the reruns of both the miniseries and the series following their broadcast runs. Hallmark, which reaches only 40 million cable households (some mass-circulation networks get into 80 million homes), couldn’t afford to buy exclusive rights to the series.

The continuation of “Dinotopia” as a weekly series will help Hallmark to amortize the huge cost of the special effects and the production design, which together have created a continent where dinosaurs and humans live in harmony.

A decision needs to be made soon, however: The elaborate special effects needed for a “Dinotopia” series would mean production on the show would have to begin far in advance of its airdate.

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