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Company tunes into TV.

HOLLYWOOD There's a new spin at DreamWorks TV.

The boutique operation, which shed its indie skin last August to sign a two-year development pact at NBC, is behind several upcoming skeins.

That includes the Peacock's fall drama "Las Vegas" (a co-production with NBC Studios), as well as the midseason ABC politico drama "Line of Fire" (along with Touchstone TV).

Then there's "Father of the Pride," the CGI-animated skein that NBC is touting as a centerpiece of its fall 2004 lineup.

"Pride," which revolves around a family of white lions who perform in Siegfried & Roy's Vegas show, is a passion project of Jeffrey Katzenberg.

DreamWorks continues to produce sophomore skeins "Oliver Beene" (with 20th Century Fox TV) for Fox and critical darling "Boomtown" (with NBC Studios) for the Peacock.

DreamWorks TV co-heads Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey hope this proves that there's life after "Spin City." The ABC laffer, which exited the airwaves last year, remains DreamWorks' biggest hit to date.

Losing that series, coupled with the changing world of primetime, convinced DreamWorks to get out of the deficit-financing biz and find a way to defray mounting overhead costs.

Though DreamWorks had failed to find another hit at that level, the studio continued to score with critics via such skeins as "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared."

Enter NBC. Under the deal, Peacock gets first crack at any new series developed by DreamWorks. NBC then finances and owns a majority stake in those projects.

NBC pays DreamWorks an annual six-figure fee to help cover the division's overhead. DreamWorks continues to cover its own development, and is able to shop projects elsewhere if NBC passes.

"The world has changed," Katzenberg said last year, after striking the production arrangement with NBC. "You can stick your head in the sand and ignore that at your own peril. This is a new way to be in the TV business and still have some real upside potential."

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Title Annotation:DreamWorks TV
Author:Schneider, Michael
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 18, 2003
Words:320
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