Network buys exclusive rights to 'Scandal'

Lifetime will fork over a total of about $10 million in license fees for exclusive rights in ad-supported cable to five recent theatrical movies, led by Universal comedy “Because I Said So,” starring Diane Keaton.

A second U title in the deal is “Georgia Rule,” with Lindsay Lohan. Lifetime has also picked up Fox Searchlight titles “Notes on a Scandal” and “Waitress” and Warner Bros. pic “In the Land of Women.”

The biggest grosser of the five in U.S. theaters is “Because I Said So,” at $42.6 million. Based on a license fee of about 10% of domestic box office, Lifetime will pay about $4 million for that film. Domestic grosses of the four other pictures ranged between $19 million for “Georgia” to $11 million for “In the Land of Women.” Lifetime’s payout for these four was $1 million-$2 million each.

The titles’ common denominator, said Leslie Chesloff, senior VP of acquisitions for Lifetime, is that “their content fits Lifetime’s brand.” Movies, she added, are “still very much a part of our programming strategy.”

Lifetime runs a primetime pic every weeknight, and its Lifetime Movie Network sibling skeds wall-to-wall movies.

Lifetime supplements its purchases of recent movies with library titles that still draw viewers, she said, citing “Legally Blonde” and “Pretty Woman.”

Chesloff said her goal with theatricals is to get the titles right after their pay TV window. HBO is the pay network with rights to all five of the current movies, playing each about a year after the premiere in the theaters. HBO’s first window lasts for 18 months.

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