Stephen M. Silverman
April 14, 2004 03:45 PM

Never one to back down, Mel Gibson is said to be shopping his blockbuster Biblical movie “The Passion of the Christ” to the major American TV networks with the demand that not one scene of the R-rated drama is deleted.

Because of the movie’s box-office success — having taken in more than $353 million domestically after less than two months in release — Gibson’s offer is being called the biggest movie deal for pay TV and broadcast/basic cable licensors in more than five years, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The last biggie, reports the trade paper, was FOX TV’s purchase of the broadcast rights to George Lucas’s “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”

Gibson’s company, Icon Productions, has announced in no uncertain terms that the film, which received its R-rating because of its violent content, cannot be edited down, which means that it will likely be a hard sell for CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX when it comes to finding advertisers.

Gibson, 48, would also like to have his “Passion” on TV shortly after the film is released on home video, which is expected to be later this year.

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