By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 30, 2001 10:10 AM
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ABC has acquired the TV rights to the record-setting “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and its as-yet-unfinished sequel, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” in one of the most expensive such deals in TV history, the network said on Thursday. Terms of the negotiations were not disclosed, but reports put the figure somewhere between $60 million and $70 million for each film. The figures are said to be about the same as those paid for TV rights to the Jim Carrey holiday blockbuster “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but is less than that paid for “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” reports Reuters. Since opening with a record-setting box office take of $90.3 million the weekend before Thanksgiving, the first “Harry Potter” movie has gone on to gross more than $190 million in North America alone. Meanwhile, it has also been reported that fans of the boy wizard will have to wait at least another six years before they can see him on the live stage. “The dramatization rights are not yet licensed and are subject to a contractual holdback until 2007,” Christopher Little, spokesperson for author J.K. Rowling, said on Thursday. She said there were regular inquiries from all over the world about the stage rights, but they were all met with a polite but firm refusal. One exception was a girls’ school south of London, which slipped through the net last year when Rowling gave permission for students to perform a stage adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” penned by English teacher Heather Morland.