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Nick drawn to Par ‘Web’

Winick helming Grant's adaptation of White novel

Nick Films is joining Kerner Entertainment as a producer on Paramount’s live-action/CG animation adaptation of E.B. Whites “Charlotte’s Web.”

Paramount’s also in talks with Walden Media, which is part of Anschutz Film Group, to co-finance and produce. “Charlotte’s Web,” to be directed by Gary Winick, was set up with Kerner last year and is expected to start lensing in January.

Susannah Grant, whose credits include “Erin Brockovich” and “In Her Shoes,” penned the script with revisions by Karey Kirkpatrick (“Chicken Run”).

“Charlotte’s Web,” written in 1952, is the best selling children’s paperback of all time. Story centers on a 10-year-old girl and a spider who saves the life of her friend, a pig named Wilbur.

Book was made into a 1973 animated feature by Paramount and Sagittarius Prods., owned by Edgar Bronfman Sr.

Kerner Entertainment production head Paul Neesan, who’s overseen development, will exec produce along with Bronfman.

The inclusion of Nick on the project comes amid bullishness by Paramount execs over prospects for this weekend’s opening of Nick’s animated “SpongeBob SquarePants,” based on its long-running cartoon skein on the Nick cable net.

Nick’s also a producer on the upcoming Paramount/DreamWorks’ co-production of “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events,” opening Dec. 17.

Nick and sister operation MTV Films have been shedding their reputation as low-budget specialists by placing more emphasis on potentially mass-appeal projects. June’s elevation of Tom Freston as overseer of Paramount has been expected to trigger stepped-up movie output from Nick and MTV.

Walden’s upcoming projects include drama “I Am David,” which Lions Gate is releasing Dec. 3; docu “Aliens of the Deep” for Disney and comedy-drama “Because of Winn Dixie” for Fox.

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