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Viacom and MGM enter into TV licensing pact for 15 James Bond films

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Viacom-owned television networks The New TNN: The National Network, CBS, and UPN have announced a licensing agreement involving MGM Worldwide Television Distribution, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 

Under the terms of the agreement the networks have licensed the exclusive US television rights to 15 titles from MGM's James Bond franchise from October 2002 through most of 2004. 

The agreement represents the first time that the three Viacom networks have acquired programming in one negotiation. TNN will begin telecasting the Bond titles this October after the films complete their run on ABC.

The venture aims on capitalising on the fact that James Bond is celebrating his 40th anniversary this year. The 20th Bond film Die Another Day from MGM is due for release on 22 November. Viacom sees the agreement as complementing the previous licensing pact with CBS for the newer Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough.

Ratings and demographics for the Bond films continue to perform strongly in the US. Prior to the Olympics, the classic Bond pictures ranked number one in males 25-54 against all other network competition for ABC. During the Olympics, the films over-indexed ABC's primetime average by 17 per cent with males 18-49. The titles available as per the new agreement include Dr. No, From Russia With Love, The Living Daylights and The Spy Who Loved Me.

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