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HOLLYWOOD The TV movie business is undergoing dramatic change as the broadcast networks embrace big-budget "event" pics and miniseries, making it difficult for some indie producers to remain competitive.
Hallmark Entertainment chairman and exec producer Robert Halmi Sr. has led the way, with epic minis such as "Merlin," "Gulliver's Travels" and "The Odyssey." In the process, he has raised the bar for the entire industry by championing ambitious, expensive, cinematic-style productions.
Taking their cue from Halmi's success, the networks have begun pouring more energy into their own "event" made-fors -- bringing in feature filmmakers and filling, more slots with inhouse projects.
And smaller independent producers are feeling the squeeze.
"The trend toward inhouse production is accelerating at an alarming pace," says Len Hill, a partner and producer at Hill-Fields Entertainment, which has averaged four or five vidpics a year for the nets, but has made none during the last two years.
Adds Ken Kaufman, prexy of another vet TV movie supplier, …