U acquires ‘Exclusive’ for McEntire

NEW YORK — Universal Pictures has optioned the Sandra Brown novel “Exclusive” for $250,000 against $1 million as a vehicle for country singer Reba McEntire, who started a film company at the studio when she reupped with MCA Records/Nashville last February.

“Exclusive,” which was just published by Warner Books, is a tense drama about a D.C. journalist who’ll lose her job unless she breaks a huge story. When the First Lady gives her an exclusive about a child dying of sudden infant death syndrome in the White House, the reporter thinks she’s found her big story. Trouble is, she might be getting duped in a White House whitewash by a First Lady covering up a murder.

It’s unclear whether McEntire will play the journalist or the First Lady. The project will be developed under McEntire’s Starstruck Films, which is run by McEntire’s manager Shelley Browning.

McEntire, who is the biggest-selling female country singer ever with sales exceeding 38 million platters, has done some acting, including stints in “The Little Rascals,” “North,” “Tremors” and telepics that include “Buffalo Girls.” She’s repped by CAA. The author was repped in the deal by Marti Blumenthal of Writers & Artists. Brown is a former romance novelist who recently turned to drama and scored a bestseller with her last novel, “The Witness.”

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