Network nabs 'Thirteen,' 'Wed,' 'Diamond'

USA Network has anted up $26 million to Warner Bros. Domestic Cable for “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “License to Wed” and “Blood Diamond” in the network window.

TNT had previously bought “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve,” making it the logical candidate to pick up the third entry in the series. But USA went after the third “Ocean’s” movie aggressively because TNT’s ratings spiked every time it ran “Ocean’s Eleven.”

In 12 runs of “Eleven” since July 2004, the movie has averaged more than 1.5 million adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 on TNT.

USA declined to discuss license fees, but it will shell out about $14.4 million for a 4½-year term for “Ocean’s Thirteen.”

Warner Bros. has negotiated the right to carve out a window in USA’s license term for a broadcast net to buy a run of “Thirteen.” Another cabler could also buy a few runs later on in the USA contract — a likely prospect because the movie has already grossed $114.5 million in U.S. theaters since it opened six weeks ago.

USA has four-year license term to the two other titles, “License to Wed” and “Blood Diamond.” The Oxygen network has already bought a post-USA window to “License to Wed,” and Warners has the right to sell “Blood Diamond” to another broadcast or cable network buyer.

At USA, the three Warners titles join such recent movie purchases as “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Casino Royale,” “Borat” and “The Break-Up,” heralding a renewed commitment by the network to theatricals. Before this splurge, USA had bought substantially fewer movies than its chief competitors, TNT/TBS and FX.

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