ABC, HBO sign two-year deal

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ABC is recruiting Home Box Office talent to help revive the sagging broadcast
network.

ABC and HBO's production arm, HBO Independent Productions, have inked a
two-year deal calling for HBO to craft original series, and possibly made-for-TV
movies, for the broadcast network.

ABC is investing in the HBO unit, and it will cover start-up costs for new shows.
In exchange, the Walt Disney Co.-owned network gets first-look at all projects. If
ABC passes, HBO can shop the shows to other outlets. ABC will, however, retain
distribution rights and copyrights. HBO-hatched shows could reportedly be ready
to hit ABC for the fall-2003 season.

HBO produces CBS' hit sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, but it has pulled
back from the production business in recent years to focus on developing its own
series.

"This deal further underscores our commitment to develop with the best
producers in the business as we continue to rebuild ABC," ABC Entertainment chairman Lloyd Braun said in a prepared statement.

The ABC deal does not include any rights to HBO originals series like The
Sopranos
or Six Feet Under.

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