Exclusive: New Multicast Nets Buy Warner Bros. Films

Two new digital broadcast networks being launched by Bounce TV executive Jonathan Katz have acquired the rights to air 135 movies from Warner Bros.

The deal marks the first programming agreement for the new nets, Escape, aimed at women and Grit, which targets men. Both are expected to launch this summer.

The announcement comes at a time when Walt Disney Co.’s ABC unit is pulling the plug on its digital broadcast operation, the Live Well Network.

The multi-year agreement between Katz Broadcasting and Warner Bros. Domestic TV includes titles selected to appeal to each network’s audience.

Crime and mystery films that will air on Escape, programmed for women 25 to 54, include Body Heat, Disclosure, Dead Calm, Malice, Dolores Claiborne, Presumed Innocent and Star 80.

Action films headed for Grit’s men 25 to 54 core audience, include Clint Eastwood films Sudden Impact, Kelly’s Heroes and Bronco Billy; Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra, Demolition Man and Victory; and Steven Seagal’s Hard to Kill and Fire Down Below.

Grit will also air John Wayne westerns including Cahill U.S. Marshal, Chisum and The Cowboys.

Escape and Grit have distribution agreements covering 35% of U.S. television markets, according to Katz Broadcasting. Univision stations will carry the networks in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Miami.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.