E! Entertainment TV has ponied up about $7 million for some runs of the theatrical version of “Sex and the City” in the network window following the movie’s basic-cable premiere on the USA Network.
As part of the deal, E! has bought a second position in two other New Line pictures still unreleased to the multiplexes: “The Women,” which kicks off on TBS, and “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which makes its debut on USA. E!’s license fee for each of these two titles will be 4% of the domestic box office.
Cyndi McClellan, senior VP of research and programming strategy for the Comcast Entertainment Group (which consists of E!, the Style network and G4), said E! plans to stay active in buying theatricals to fill the pipeline of its primetime “Movies We Love” franchise, which runs Saturdays at 8.
“Movies are a big piece of the success E! has had in the ratings for the first half of the year,” said McClellan, referring to the network’s double-digit growth in total viewers and people in the three key adult demographics (18-49, 18-34 and 25-54).
Some of the recent movies bought by E! are “Knocked Up,” “Evan Almighty,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” and “Chicago.”
Since 60% of E!’s primetime audience, on average, consists of women, McClellan said the net favors comedies, particularly romantic comedies. She acknowledged, however, that “The Women” may be a bit of a departure because it’s as much a drama as a comedy, focusing on divorce and malignant gossip. E! has also bought some runs of the “Miami Vice” feature because it’s drenched in the pop sensibility that the network dotes on.
“Sex and the City,” “The Women” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” will also show up on the schedule of Style, although E! will get the first plays in its Saturday showcase. With “Sex and the City,” E! gets two separate one-year carve-outs within the 6½-year contractual term; the other 4½ years are the province of USA.
Before the three titles make their way to E! and Style, they’ll play off in an exclusive 18-month window on HBO, which has an output deal with New Line.
Engineering the deal for New Line was David Spiegelman, who left the company last month in the aftermath of its takeover by Warner Bros. to become president of domestic-TV distribution for the Weinstein Co.