Made in New Zealand: 'Hobbit the

Turner cabler to run first two 'Hobbit' pics in 2015 and 2016

TNT isn’t letting any other networks muscle in on its Middle Earth turf. The cabler has nabbed the TV rights to the latest installment of “The Hobbit” franchise.

Deal was expected, as TNT has been Tolkien central on TV ever since New Line’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy bowed a decade ago. And TNT already has rights to Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit” pic, from New Line and MGM.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” will bow on the cabler in 2016. The 2012 release “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” unspools on TNT in 2015.

“Desolation of Smaug” has bagged more than $400 million in worldwide B.O. since its bow earlier this month.

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