Inside Move: Warner opens window

Frankel to sell half of output to cable net rivals

Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors.

If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. The other half of the output will go to either USA or FX, cable nets that are gung-ho about buying movies in the first network window.

TBS and TNT are willing to sign off on a deal that may strengthen a tough cable rival because they can’t absorb the entire Warner theatrical output. TBS and TNT have bought more blockbuster movies in the past few months — among them “Spider-Man,” “Signs,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and “Minority Report” — than any other network, broadcast or cable.

FX or USA would trigger the deal only if Frankel sets up a foolproof mechanism to ensure that TBS and TNT don’t harvest a disproportionate share of the box office winners, leaving the lesser titles to USA or FX. One strategy: Waiting until year’s end and then parceling off the titles by alternating them based on their domestic grosses. For the blockbusters, Frankel would reserve the right to sell an additional set of runs to a broadcast network, creating a blueprint that would funnel more money to Warner Bros. while lowering the license fee to the cable net.

All the parties declined to comment on the Warner Bros. proposal.

More TV

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor to Interview French President Emmanuel Macron on 'CBS Evening News'

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • SUITS -- "Full Disclosure" Episode 707

    Dubai: USA Network's Legal Drama 'Suits' Set For Arabic Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1733

    'Saturday Night Live': Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Steve Martin Appear in James Franco Opener

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • Vanessa Kirby

    'The Crown' Star Vanessa Kirby on the 'Privilege' of Playing Princess Margaret

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • Jessica Jones Emmy Race

    'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • Kate Winslet Gary Oldman Actors on

    Why Kate Winslet Almost Said No to 'Wonder Wheel'

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

  • Making A Murderer Brendan Dassey

    Federal Court Rules Against 'Making a Murderer's' Brendan Dassey

    Eric Frankel, president of domestic-cable distribution for Warner Bros., is trying to engineer a shotgun marriage between cable networks that are cutthroat competitors. If Frankel has his way, Warner Bros. will sell the network window to only half of its theatrical movies in a multiyear, partial-output deal to its sister cable networks TBS and TNT. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content