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Turner cablers land U pix pack

Titles include 'Riddick,' 'Connie,' 'Wimbledon,' 'Door'

NEW YORK — Turner Broadcasting’s TNT and TBS will pay Universal $35 million-$40 million for six movies, led by “The Bourne Supremacy” and “Van Helsing.”

That pic pair become available to the networks early in 2007, following their pay TV window. The four other titles are “Chronicles of Riddick” (available January ’07), “Wimbledon” (April ’07), “Connie & Carla” (December ’06) and “The Door in the Floor” (February ’07).

TNT/TBS will end up sharing “Van Helsing” with another cable net still to be determined: U has retained the right to sell a three-year window to the movie (January ’09 through December ’11) after TNT and TBS finish up their exclusive dibs for the first two years of the contract. As part of the deal, TNT and TBS get “Van Helsing” back for one final year, in 2012.

Universal can boast that it harvested marketplace prices for “Bourne” while clearing a number of poor-performing theatricals. By its willingness to do the deal, TNT/TBS aced out U sister cabler USA.

TBS and TNT maintain their stance as the most aggressive buyers of theatrical pics in either broadcast or cable TV.

Broadcast TV is buying fewer theatricals than at any other time in network history, at least in part because the movies are worn out by the time they get to the nets through overuse on DVD/video, pay-per-view, video-on-demand and pay TV. When the movies finally stagger onto the schedules of the broadcast networks, they rarely lure mass audiences to tune in.

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