ITV bets on ‘Casino Royale’ for U.K. TV

Kandola scores rights to Bond pic

ITV acquisitions topper Jay Kandola has nabbed U.K. TV terrestrial rights to the new James Bond caper “Casino Royale,” which sees the debut of Daniel Craig as 007.

The purchase, reputedly won in a bidding war with Channel 4, is part of a deal with Sony Pictures Intl. and MGM that gives ITV renewal rights to the complete library of Bond pics.

Titles include “GoldenEye,” “From Russia With Love” and “Dr. No.”

“Casino Royale,” which takes its title from Ian Fleming’s debut Bond book, is due to bow theatrically in November and is unlikely to air on ITV before late 2007.

Kandola, poached last year from rival Brit network Five, said, “It’s great to hit the ground running by clinching such an important deal for ITV in what is only my fifth week in the job.”

Many of the Bond movies, though long in the tooth, remain big draws for ITV, Blighty’s biggest commercial terrestrial web, which needs more films than ever to feed a growing portfolio of digital spinoff channels.