‘Jersey’ tunnels to cablers

TBS, AMC, Lifetime among nets to claim pic's rights

NEW YORK — Miramax Films may have set a record by selling a total of six cable networks the rights to one movie, “Jersey Girl,” in the shared network window for a combined license fee of about $3.6 million.

The nets are Turner’s TBS and TNT; Rainbow Media Holdings’ AMC, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment; and the standalone Lifetime.

Masterminding the deal was Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Miramax, who said he had fun satisfying all of the networks while, as he put it, “cobbling together” such a complicated series of windows within a license term of five years.

Sands declined to discuss dollar figures, but Turner will pony up $1.8 million to get the first plays of the movie for a nine-month exclusive window beginning in July 2006.

Then Lifetime, which will shell out $1 million, gets 12 months to schedule a multiple number of runs.

Turner gets “Jersey Girl” back for just three months before the movie journeys to Rainbow for two years of exclusive plays divided among AMC, WE and IFC.

For the last year of the contract, the movie winds up for its final runs at Turner.

While Turner is one of the most active buyers of recent movies, the Miramax deal signals that Lifetime and Rainbow are beginning to step up after previously steering clear of buying movies in the network window because the license fees were considered prohibitive.

But when a distributor like Miramax can engineer a risk-sharing arrangement like the one for “Jersey Girl,” all sorts of cable networks may start entering the network-window auction to get their hands on fresher movies for reasonable prices.

And the distribs will get the license fees they need to satisfy profit participants, neatly sidestepping the ongoing sluggish TV marketplace for theatrical movies.

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