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WB triggers G4 to scout games for bigscreen

HOLLYWOOD — Seeking an inside guide to vidgame properties that can be developed into movies, Warner Bros. has tapped cable channel G4 to be its talent scout.

Warner Bros. production prexy Jeff Robinov and G4 CEO Charles Hirschhorn have announced the two-year, first-look deal, which puts the cable channel in an unusual position of scouting across the $20 billion worldwide vidgame industry for properties and talent to develop, then bringing them to Warner.

“Collaborating with Charles Hirschhorn and his team offers many possibilities, since they clearly have their fingers on the pulse of the gamer culture,” Robinov said. “I’m pleased to be in business with G4 in this exciting new venture.”

Hirschhorn said the cabler will serve more as a “matchmaker or talent scout,” than as a traditional producer.

“We’re much more serving as a conduit,” Hirschhorn said. “When I was a studio executive, you’d have a theater scout or a book scout. I don’t think it’s any different than that. It’s sort of a compliment to Jeff’s cleverness that he’s engaged more than 100 people (at G4) to serve him in one deal.”

G4 will make introductions between gamemakers and Warner, Hirschhorn said, but it also will provide other services, like giving Warner execs an early peek at viewer polls of the games they most want to see turned into movies. That could give Warner Bros. a leg up in capturing hot properties.

The biggest upside for G4, which is wholly owned by Comcast, is in further elevating the visibility of the vidgame business in Hollywood. The channel, which is based in Santa Monica, launched just over a year ago and has about 10 million subscribers.

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