Spike TV to get the Sith

Variety has reported that Spike TV has engineered the biggest movie purchase in the net’s 22-year history, ponying up between $65 million and $70 million for a six-year exclusive deal covering all six of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars movies.

NBC Universal’s USA Network and Sci Fi Channel and Turner Broadcasting’s TBS and TNT were in the bidding, helping to drive the price up much higher than the initial estimate four months ago, which put the George Lucas space operas at about $50 million.

The blockbuster in the deal was Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, which Spike will get in the first network window in April 2008. That’s the earliest window a cable net has ever landed to a “Star Wars” movie; the first five titles began their TV life on the Fox Network.

Two more recent Star Wars pics – Attack of the Clones” and “The Phantom Menace – have had runs on Fox but have never shown up on cable before. Spike will get them and the original three pics in April 2008.