Operating income, revs soar for Spelling

Spelling Entertainment Group Inc., led by its twentysomething hit skeins “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place,” posted a first-quarter profit, after a year-ago loss, on a 58% gain in revenue.

Those series, along with two new Spelling offerings, “Burke’s Law” and “Winnetka Road,” helped push Spelling’s operating income up sevenfold to $ 6.9 million.

For the quarter, Spelling earned $ 6.9 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with a loss of $ 4.8 million (9 cents) in the like period a year earlier. The results for the 1993 period included a $ 203,000 charge for preferred dividends.

Additionally, Spelling’s year-ago results were hampered by a $ 5.5 million charge, largely an insurance premium to cover claims against the oil and gas business of its former parent, Charter Co.

Revenue was $ 80.4 million, up from $ 50.8 million.

Spelling prexy/CEO Steven R. Berrard said in a statement that the company was “extremely pleased” with the results, and pointed to three upcoming Spelling skeins, “Models Inc.,””Robin’s Hoods” and “Heaven Help Us,” as bright spots.

Spelling is in the process of acquiring Republic Pictures Corp., a deal the company expects to seal at Republic’s shareholders meeting next week. Spelling is 70.5% owned by Blockbuster Entertainment Corp.

Spelling stock closed unchanged at $ 9.13 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.