'Casino' set for USA slots starting in '09

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USA Network has won its bet on "Casino Royale."

After heated bidding with several outlets, including broadcast networks, Spike TV, TNT and FX, USA landed the latest James Bond film starring Daniel Craig.

Under the five-year deal, said to be in the neighborhood of $20 million, USA will get the MGM/Columbia Pictures blockbuster movie in June 2009. The pact, brokered by Sony Pictures TV, also gives the cable network the right to carve out additional windows on broadcast or cable.

"Casino Royale," the first Bond movie with Craig as the famous British spy, has grossed more than $400 million worldwide to date. It is on track to outpace "Die Another Day" as the highest-grossing movie in the franchise.

The Bond movies have been strong performers on cable TV.

When TBS had the rights to many of the films, it launched a holiday 007 movie marathon. The tradition was continued by Spike TV, which bought the Bond movie package a few years ago.
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