FX to ‘Mess With the Zohan’

Cabler pays $11 million for Adam Sandler film

FX has agreed to pony up about $11 million for exclusive network-window rights to Sony’s “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.”

Pics from “Zohan” star Adam Sandler consistently harvest big audiences on basic-cable networks, going back to 1995’s “Billy Madison.” FX has scored most recently with runs of Sandler’s “Anger Management,” co-starring Jack Nicholson, and the network has the first plays next season of another Sandler box office hit, “Click.” The network declined to comment on the “Zohan” deal.

FX is in the middle of its most aggressive movie-buying spree, having recently grabbed such titles as “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Baby Mama” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” FX also has pre-bought, among others, the Judd Apatow movies “Pineapple Express” and “Step Brothers,” and the Angelina Jolie-vehicle “Wanted.”

Theatrical movies are a bigger part of FX’s primetime schedule than that of its main rivals, USA, TNT and TBS, because FX doesn’t buy off-network hours. Instead, FX shells out for big-ticket movies as potentially high-rated lead-ins to its original scripted series, such as “Nip/Tuck,” “Rescue Me” and “Damages.”

FX will take title to its first plays of “Zohan” late in 2010, permitting Sony to sell one or two runs of “Zohan” to a broadcast network within the license term of the cable contract. Before FX, “Zohan” will get an exclusive pay TV run on Starz as part of a theatrical-output deal.