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Irwin Winkler logs on for TV

Adaptation of 'The Net' first up for producer

Having watched several fellow film producers strike it big in TV, Irwin Winkler wants a piece of the action.

Winkler, the producer behind such notable features as “Rocky,” “Raging Bull” and “The Right Stuff,” will get into the smallscreen game via Sony Pictures TV, where his Winkler Films has sealed a first-look deal.

First up, Sony is looking at a new TV adaptation of Winkler’s 1995 Sandra Bullock thriller “The Net” (which he also directed).

“The Net” was adapted as a TV series once before; that short-lived 1998 USA Network skein starred Brooke Langton.

This time around, John Brancato and Michael Ferris — who wrote the original feature screenplay — will adapt the series themselves. Project hasn’t yet been shopped to networks.

“We thought it would make a great TV series,” Winkler said of the movie that revolved around a software analyst who becomes embroiled in the netherworld of computer-driven espionage and identity theft. “A lot of people said it was ahead of its time anyhow.”

Beyond “The Net,” Winkler said he’s looking through his library to see what else could be turned into a TV show — but will focus more of his efforts in finding new projects.

“There aren’t many feature projects that adapt themselves,” Winkler said, noting that a “Raging Bull” or “Rocky” TV show aren’t in the cards. “We’re looking through some of our ideas, but it’s not the primary goal here.”

Winkler will oversee the shingle’s TV efforts during the one-year deal along with Winkler Films prexy Jill Cutler and his sons David and Charles.

Winkler has been in business with Sony on the feature side for more than a decade. He knows Sony Pictures TV prexy Steve Mosko well, which made planting his flag with the production unit run by programming and production chiefs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg an obvious choice, he said.

Winkler’s other credits include “Life as a House” and “De-Lovely.” David and Charles Winkler recently co-produced “Rocky Balboa”; David Winkler is also co-producer on the upcoming “The Mechanic,” while Charles Winkler directed “Streets of Blood.”

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