By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/12/2003 7:00:00 PM
MI5 Aims at A&E
A&E is jumping back into original scripted series with spy drama MI5. The thriller, co-produced with the BBC, tracks the elite counterterrorism unit of Britain's secret service over 16 hour-long episodes. Slated for this summer, MI5 is A&E's first new drama since Abbe Raven, former head of the History Channel, took over as general manager. "We are open to faster-paced and more contemporary shows like this," she said. A&E canned its two scripted dramas Nero Wolfe and 100 Centre Street last year due to low ratings.
A&E is adding theme nights, with mystery movies on Mondays and acquired dramas Crossing Jordan and Third Watch on Fridays. A&E's stalwart Biography will move to Sunday nights, and Friday will feature documentaries.
BET Buys a Batch
BET has unveiled its anticipated first acquisitions, buying three Paramount Domestic Television shows: Showtime's drama Soul Food and comedies Girlfriends and The Parkers, which have both aired on UPN. Showtime, UPN and Paramount are owned by BET's parent, Viacom.
BET gets four seasons of Soul Food and has an option for a fifth, if it's made. Soul Food kicks off with a limited 12-episode run Jan. 21 and will join BET's regular prime time schedule in 2004, along with Girlfriends. The Parkers will debut in September. BET CEO Debra Lee said the network may look to replay some Showtime original movies. She said Showtime makes about three or four black-themed movies a year.
BET's original animated series Hey Monie, co-produced with the Oxygen network, will debut on March 4.
Will Deadwood Replace Sopranos?
HBO this spring will kick off production on its latest series, hour-long Western drama Deadwood, executive-produced by David Milch. This comes as HBO's two biggest shows are reaching their twilight years. Sex and the City returns for its sixth and final season with 20 new episodes, 12 this summer and eight more in January 2004. The Sopranos will have a fifth season, although it has yet to be scheduled. As for a sixth season, HBO has pitched creator David Chase, but the premium network said Chase hasn't decided if he'll extend the show beyond his intended five seasons.
Court TV's I, Witness News
Court TV will add two new entertainment series this summer, I, Witness, a crime and justice game show where participants play eyewitness and solve crimes, and Who Lives Here?, in which detectives examine peoples' homes and try to piece together the identities of the occupants.
The network also renewed its popular Forensic Files series for 30 new episodes, and Dominick Dunne's investigative series Power, Privilege and Justice returns for six more episodes beginning Jan. 15.
Game Show Net To Press Your Luck
The Game Show Network will tackle a game- show scandal for its first documentary. Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal profiles Press Your Luck contestant Michael Larson, who cracked the game's code in 1984 and took home more than $100,000.
The two-hour special airs March 16 and includes Larson's original Press Your Luck episodes.
AMC Set To Unveil Wrong Coast
AMC will headline its new original-programming slate with claymation spoof The Wrong Coast, which features movie parodies with miscast actors, like, say, Woody Allen as Spider-Man .
AMC (it's not called American Movie Classics anymore) has ordered 13 episodes, with the first to debut April 2.
The classic film channel wants to lure younger viewers with original fare and more contemporary movies. According to AMC programming chief Rob Sorcher, shows like The Wrong Coast are "the perfect TV complement for a movie channel."
Other new programs include comedy series Welcome to Hollywood, a look at how celluloid stars are born, coming in June, and monthly specials called "The AMC Project." One special, Fame: The New Reality, premiering June 16, visits former reality-show stars after their series end.
No related content found.
No Top Articles