February 10, 2009

Universal, USA Network sign pact

USA Network says it has acquired the exclusive network television premiere rights to the 2009 Universal Pictures' film slate.

The agreement was announced by Jane Blaney, executive vice president of programming, acquisitions and scheduling for USA Network, and Frances Manfredi, executive vice president/general sales manager of NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

This deal is the most ambitious movie acquisition to date for USA, Blaney said in a statement. To partner with Universal makes it a win-win across NBCU platforms, while complementing USA's brand strategy with an A-list talent roster with a proven track record on the network, including Adam Sandler, Matt Damon and Johnny Depp.

USA Network clearly understands the significance of a strong theatrical lineup on its overall network performance, added Manfredi. We applaud USA for its vision and aggressive film acquisition strategy. This year's Universal Pictures' slate features many amazing projects with some of the most prominent actors and directors in the business.

The pact means USA Network will receive two dozen of the studios' films, most of which are scheduled for theatrical release in 2009, including such titles as Duplicity with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen; Fast & Furious with Vin Diesel; State of Play with Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck; Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell; Public Enemies with Depp; Funny People with Sandler and Seth Rogen; Couples Retreat with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau; and The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.