‘Longest Yard,’ ‘Sahara’ TV rights sold

The sluggish marketplace for theatrical movies on TV received a jolt of electricity from the Paramount TV Group, which sold TV rights to “The Longest Yard” to Turner’s TBS/TNT and CBS in a shared window for up to $27 million. Turner and CBS had to move aggressively and buy “Yard” before it opens in theaters (a rare occurrence these days) because other cable networks like USA were eager to get the movie for one big reason: It stars Adam Sandler. The comic’s movies – even the modest-grossing ones – are catnip for young adult TV viewers. Sandler junkies flock to USA every time the network schedules such pictures as “Big Daddy,” “Waterboy,” “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” Paramount also sold the rights to “Sahara,” the action movie that has grossed $66 million in U.S. theaters, to a combination of Turner and ABC for a total license fee that could approach $10 million. A Turner spokeswoman confirmed the TBS/TNT deals for “Yard” and “Sahara” but declined to discuss contractual terms.

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