7 Days of Deals

 

DEAL OF THE WEEK: How Time Warner Cable's $3 Billion Lakers Deal Shot, Scored Big -- When Time Warner Cable sealed a deal Nov. 15 for DirecTV to carry its English- and Spanish-language sports channels featuring Los Angeles Lakers games, it marked the vindication of a risky programming strategy. Faced with soaring sports rights fees, TWC in February 2011 opted for the first time to create its own channels, shelling out an astounding $3 billion for Lakers games for 20 years. (TWC also locked in Major League Soccer's L.A. Galaxy for $55 million over 10 seasons, as well as the WNBA's L.A. Sparks.)

To make the investment pay off, TWC needed other cable and satellite providers -- its fierce rivals -- to shell out big money to license the channels. As the Lakers' preseason began, only tiny Bright House Networks had agreed to the stiff terms TWC was demanding: $3.95 a month per subscriber and carriage on the most basic tier of service so the channels would reach the largest audience for ad sales. Competitors initially offered a pay tier, but TWC stood firm.

By a week into the regular season, Verizon FiOS, Charter, AT&T and Cox had signed deals, but DirecTV, with about 1.3 million customers in Laker territories (from Las Vegas to Honolulu), claimed it was too expensive. The company's CEO, Michael White, told Wall Street he didn't want to pay for customers who were not sports fans. (For this reason, Dish still hasn't made a deal with TWC.) As the Lakers started the season slow and coach Mike Brown was replaced by Mike D'Antoni, some bars that had been exclusive to DirecTV added TWC or switched. So DirecTV was forced to capitulate and likely will raise subscriber fees.

Now TWC waits in the wings to see if the L.A. Dodgers will renew their deal with Fox Sports. If not, then TWC will look to add baseball -- at a cost likely to exceed even the Lakers deal. -- Alex Ben Block

FILM

Game of Thrones' Kit Harington (CAA, Parseghian/Planco, Jackoway Tyerman) is in talks to star in the disaster pic Pompeii for Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson.

Maria Bello (CAA, John Carrabino, Myman Greenspan) will star in Dimension's untitled thriller being produced by Saw's James Wan.

X-Men: First Class writer Jane Goldman (WME, the U.K.'s Independent) will script Warner Bros.' Pinocchio, with Tim Burton and Robert Downey Jr. attached as director and star.

Morgan Spurlock (CAA, Arlook, Bruns Brennan) will direct a 3D movie about boy band One Direction for Sony.

Sam Raimi (CAA) and his producing partner Robert Tapert have teamed with Good Universe for a movie based on Susan Ee's postapocalyptic YA series Penryn & the End of Days.

The works of the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick will be developed for film and TV by Anonymous Content under a deal with Electric Shepherd.

TELEVISION

The King's Speech's David Seidler (WME, Jeff Aghassi, the U.K.'s Independent) will write the pilot script for NBC's drama George Washington.

Josh Duhamel (ICM, John Carrabino, Hansen Jacobson) is teaming with Mark Gordon, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts and Oliver Hudson for an untitled ABC drama set in the world of daytime soap operas.

Liza Minnelli (WME, United, Shukat Arrow) will guest star and sing on NBC's Smash.

ABC is developing a drama based on Disney roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain.

Meryl Streep's daughter Grace Gummer (CAA, Anonymous) will recur on season two of HBO's The Newsroom as a reporter covering Mitt Romney.

Awkward showrunner Lauren Iungerich (WME, Mad House, McKuin Frankel) has received a pilot order from MTV for her comedy Hot Mess.

House of Cards co-star Constance Zimmer (UTA, Sweeney) will recur on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

How to Make It in America's Bryan Greenberg (Gersh, Ellen Meyer, Jackoway Tyerman) and Miss Bala's Stephanie Sigman (ICM, Jorge Mondragon) will co-star in USA's Elmore Leonard legal drama.

NBC has picked up four more episodes of Guys With Kids. … FX has renewed American Horror Story for a third season. … Showtime has renewed Lisa Kudrow's Web Therapy for a third season.

BOOKS

Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn (Levine Greenberg, Smiley) will pen a novel for Crown and a YA novel for Delacorte.

Ali Larter (WME, Water Street, Hansen Jacobson) will write Kitchen Revelry, a culinary scrapbook, for St. Martin's.

ENDORSEMENTS

Tim Tebow (WME) has been tapped as TiVo's new brand ambassador.

Chris Brown (CAA, Grubman Indursky) has signed with Wilhelmina Models.

THEATER

Kenneth Branagh (WME, Troika, Hofflund/Polone) will star in and co-direct Macbeth for the Manchester International Festival in 2013.

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