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Tuning In

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2007

TNT gets '300'

The Spartans have brought their swords to TNT, which will pay about $17 million for the cable rights to "300," Variety reported yesterday.

Warner Bros. Domestic Cable TV had talked to a number of other cable networks but settled on TNT when it agreed to take the movie for only a three-year license term instead of the usual four- or five-year deal, Variety said.

TNT also will allow Warner Bros. to carve out a window to sell "300" to another network, broadcast or cable, after the first year of the TNT deal.

In exchange, Warner Bros. will allow TNT to funnel "300" to its video-on-demand platform for a few months during the three-year term, a concession the network pushed for because cable operators like Comcast are demanding robust VOD spinoffs of every basic-cable network. However, at the insistence of Warner Bros., these VOD services will not cost subscribers any additional monthly fees.

Although "300" is laced with hard-R-rated violence, TNT said it will be able to edit out the most extreme blood and gore without harming the movie's integrity.

One unusual aspect of the deal is that Warner Bros. didn't sell other, less successful movies along with "300," Variety notes. One of the reasons the studio didn't have to include other pictures is that more cable networks are buying movies. Warner Bros. didn't have to push "License to Wed" on TNT, for example, because Oxygen already bought a window to the chick flick starring Robin Williams and Mandy Moore.

TNT gets "300" for its first burst of multiple runs in September 2009, a few months after the movie completes its first 18-month window on HBO.

'Kyle' out at ABC

ABC has yanked repurposed episodes of sister network ABC Family"s "Kyle XY."

The second season of ABC Family sci-fi drama was first seen at 8 p.m., then at 9 p.m., yet "Kyle" was one of the lowest-rated shows of the night, TVWeek.com reports.

According to tthe Web site, ABC will air two "George Lopez" repeats Friday in the 8 p.m. slot, leading into the premiere of another ABC Family series, the scripted fraternity drama "Greek." The following Friday (July 20), the network will premiere its Jimmy Kimmel-hosted game show "Set For Life," where contestants compete to win a monthly paycheck for one to 40 years.

"Kyle XY" will continue to air as scheduled on ABC Family.

ABC had no comment, TVWeek.com said.

Tori troubles

Tori Spelling reportedly was a total terror while shooting promos for the second season of her Oxygen "reality" series, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," TMZ.com reports.

Unnamed sources told the celebrity Web site that the actress and new mom was more than two hours late to the set and would not interact with other actors. Sources say Miss Spelling was annoyed by the cast because they "looked too good."

On-set sources told TMZ that Miss Spelling then insisted she shoot her scenes separately from other actors and against a green screen. The "good-looking" cast members were then forced to wait around for Miss Spelling's shoot to end so they could begin to do their scenes against the green screen.

However, a representative for Miss Spelling told TMZ there were two separate stages and "Tori was on-set at 8 a.m. The shoot was always intended to include the green screens."

As far as Miss Spelling saying the other actors "looked too good," her rep replied, "That is absolutely ridiculous."

Doh!

It's Duff time in Springfield, Vt.

Yesterday, the New England town was proclaimed the official hometown of TV's favorite dysfunctional family, the Simpsons, Associated Press reports.

The southeastern Vermont community beat out 13 other Springfields for the honor, which includes hosting the premiere of "The Simpsons Movie" on July 26th. 20th Century Fox ran an online poll on the USA Today Web site inviting people to vote for their favorite among 14 videos submitted by the competing Springfields.

Springfield, Vt. entered the competition late, getting in after the head of the local Chamber of Commerce saw a news report on it and asked to be involved.

"We're so excited," said Patricia Chaffee, vice president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. "We came in at the last minute, and for us to win, we feel like the underdogs, which makes this so big and so great for us."

The town of 9,300 was the smallest in population among the communities entered. It put together a video showing a local TV personality playing Homer Simpson and chasing a giant, pink doughnut through the town.

Gov. Jim Douglas issued a statement congratulating the town.

"This is an exciting, exhilarating moment for Vermonters," he said. "Perhaps more importantly, it proves there's really nothing a giant doughnut can't do. To all the other Springfields, I say "Don't have a cow, man."

According to USA Today, the 13 other Springfields that participated in the contest will be given small screenings of their own the night before the movie opens nationwide July 27.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports