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Capturing ‘Hogan’s’

Destination acquires rights to '60s TV skein

After considerable effort, Destination Films has acquired the feature films rights to the 1960s television series “Hogan’s Heroes.”

Destination prexy of distribution and marketing Barry London will produce along with Jim Burke and Keith Samples. Samples wrote the screenplay that will be developed into a shooting script.

Warner Bros. had at one time optioned the rights to the CBS sitcom from Rysher Entertainment. Rysher controls the library of Bing Crosby Prods., the company that produced the original TV show. Warner Bros. had commissioned scribe Peter Doyle to draft a feature version.

New option

But Warner let its option lapse, and in 1998, Rysher founder Samples, along with former Rysher production exec Burke — who had formed Burke/Samples Prods. after Samples ankles Rysher — optioned the material, bringing it to Paramount and London.

That deal fell apart.In September 1998, Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Icon Prods. were in talks with Paramount Pictures to develop the project with Burke, Samples and London, and to co-finance the film (Daily Variety, Sept. 24, 1998). But those talks never advanced and London and partners were left developing the project on their own.

Once London moved from Paramount to Destination, he continued to pursue making “Hogan’s.” Since Paramount opted not to proceed, Samples, Burke and London were free to pursue the rights from Rysher on their own and to do the project at Destination.

“Hogan’s Heroes” ran from 1965-’71 on CBS and has been in syndication ever since.

Household name

“The show has incredible name recognition among multiple generations of television viewers,” London said.

London said Destination plans to put the project on the front burner, developing the Samples script and commencing casting.

Mark Jacobson is the Destination exec shepherding the project, with Bonnie Bruckner spearheading development at Burke/Samples Prods.

In closing Destination’s deal with Rysher, Neil Sacker, Destination’s executive veep of business and legal affairs, negotiated for the company, while Michael Fuller of Nelson Guggenheim Felker & Levine handled Burke Samples’ end of the pact.

Attorney Jeff Matloff of Rysher negotiated for Bing Crosby Prods.