USA to pay Col $ 30 mil in sitcom, TV movie deal

The USA network will pay Columbia Pictures TV about $ 30 million for the exclusive rights to two sitcoms, “Parker Lewis” and “The Facts of Life,” and 22 theatrical movies.

They include “Kramer vs. Kramer,””Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Bridge on the River Quai.”

Although the parties declined to reveal dollar figures, studio sources say USA is spending $ 250,000 a title for the movies. The network will pony up $ 155 ,000 a half-hour for 73 rerun episodes of “Parker Lewis,” which will bypass TV syndication and go directly to USA after its just-completed three-year run on the Fox network.

For the 205 half-hours of “Facts of Life,” which has completed its rerun cycle in syndication after a 10-year life on NBC (1979-88), USA will kick in only $ 62,000 an episode.

Neil Hoffman, VP of programming for USA, says that adding “Parker Lewis” to the previously purchased sitcoms –“Major Dad” and “Wings”– gives the network its strongest presyndication lineup of off-network sitcoms in its history. Beginning next month USA will schedule “Parker Lewis” at 5 p.m. and “Facts of Life” at 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

After scheduling an hour of various cartoons at 6 p.m. (with a double run of the animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” taking over the time period next year), the network will slot “Major Dad” at 7 and “Wings” at 7:30, beginning Sept. 20. USA will repeat “Major Dad” and “Wings” at 11 every weeknight.

Some of the other movies in the Columbia package are “Roxanne,””Absence of Malice,””Karate Kid, Part II,””Shampoo,””Starman” and “Iron Eagle.” According to the deal, the network will be able to play some of the movies on both USA and on its wholly owned Sci-Fi Channel.

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