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Koontz leads authors shopping at mini mart

NEW YORK – As the caliber of books sold as miniseries continues to improve, authors are finding that minis are maximizing profits. Take, for example, Dean Koontz, who made a deal with Mandalay Entertainment for a miniseries adaptation of his bestseller “Intensity,” to star John C. McGinley and air on the Fox Network.

After seeing several feature versions of his books take years to adapt, often with little promotion, Koontz was impressed by how intensely Fox plans to promote “Intensity.” That’s why he’s taken his new bestselling novel, “Soul Survivor,” directly to Mandalay and Fox for another mini.

“Given the level of penetration of homes that a miniseries reaches, and the quick turnaround time, we feel that the four- or six-hour mini format can have a substantial impact on the career of an author,” said Koontz’s William Morris agent Robert Gottlieb.

In another big deal for a novel with a huge publishing advance, Columbia TriStar TV agreed to pay $125,000 against $800,000 for the rights to Glenn Kleier’s debut thriller “Daughter of God,” which Warner Books acquired in a $1 million preemptive deal. The deal was made by San Francisco-based lit agent Jillian Manus with Renaissance’s Steve Fisher.

One of the big pluses of the mini format is that it suits novels otherwise unadaptable for features. Producers Richard Rubinstein and Mitchell Galin, who turned Stephen King’s mammoth novel “The Stand” into a hit mini for ABC, have now taken on the “Robot” series of sci-fi novels written by Isaac Asimov. Their New Amsterdam Entertainment has optioned the four bestselling books in the series – “Caves of Steel,” “The Naked Sun,” “Robots of Dawn” and “Robots and Empire.”

The novels chronicle an unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot. “Just as I was surprised that TV rights to the ‘Dune’ series were available when we got those, this was also a surprise,” Rubinstein said. “Both have good storytelling, and this one is almost like a sci-fi ‘Lethal Weapon,’ a buddy cop movie where one is a robot.”

They’ll combine two of the books into a miniseries, then save the others for a possible series or miniseries follow-up. Rubinstein has a first-look deal with ABC, but it’s unclear where the mini will be set up. The deal was brokered by Ralph Vicinanza and Patricia Karlin.

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