Cable Plans its Fall Assault
The competition is gaining momentum
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/22/2004 8:00:00 PM
Who says fall is broadcast territory? Hot off a summer when more viewers watched cable than the seven broadcast networks combined, cable channels are getting more aggressive with new fall shows.
Most upcoming cable fare will be reality, but there's a smattering of scripted projects, too. Here's a look at a sampling of new fall cable programs that could hit big.
Partridge Family (VH1, Sept. 5) On this reality remake, viewers will vote for a new member of the Partridge Family each week. Once the family is set, they'll star in a scripted pilot of a new Partridge show that will air on VH1.
How Clean Is Your House? (Lifetime, Sept. 6) British cleaning authorities Kim and Aggie attack American filth (It's about time!) in this new reality show from Fremantle North America. Lifetime will run it at 11 p.m. on Mondays to keep it protected from the harsh playing field of prime time.
Unfabulous and Ned's DeClassified School Survival Guide (Nickelodeon, Sept. 12) Watch out Disney Channel. Nickelodeon is getting aggressive with live action 'tween comedy. Julia Roberts' niece Emma headlines Unfabulous, a comedy about a preteen girl struggling with teenage angst. For boys, there is Ned, a slightly awkward but cute kid trying to learn the rules of junior high. Both are part of Nick's revived TeenNick block.
Family Bonds (HBO, Sept. 16) This docu-reality show is about a colorful New York-area family of bail bondsmen and bounty hunters.
Tanner '04 (Sundance Channel, October) This Tanner '88 spinoff stars Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon as Alex Tanner, daughter of former fictional candidate Jack Tanner from the original miniseries. Alex is a filmmaker documenting the presidential campaign trail in this three-part series. The production mixes real footage with fictional elements and is shot through last month's Democratic National Convention.
Alexandra Pelosi's Diary of a Political Tourist (HBO, Oct. 11) Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), documented President Bush's path to the White House in 2000 film Journeys with George. This time, she traveled the country with the Democratic hopefuls for two years to expose life on the campaign trail. Bulletin: Pelosi says Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry was not "particularly warm and fuzzy and good for TV."
I Hate My Job (Spike TV, Oct. 12) This is an Apprentice knockoff, but host Rev. Al Sharpton says he's "the working man's Donald Trump." He'll help four regular guys quit the jobs they hate and pursue their dreams, like a lawyer who yearns to be a stand-up comic . (Sharpton hints that The Donald could make a guest appearance.)
Manhunt (Bravo, Oct. 13) Let UPN and Tyra Banks find America's next female supermodel. Bravo is leading the hunt for the male variety with Manhunt: The Search for America's Most Gorgeous Male Model. Over the course of eight one-hour episodes, 15 wannabes compete for a one-year contract with the IMG agency.
Drawn Together (Comedy Central, Oct. 27) Comedy Central didn't want to copy Last Comic Standing or Big Brother; it wanted to turn them upside down. The result is Drawn Together, a reality spoof and an animated comedy where classic cartoon characters share a mansion Real World-style and are filmed 24/7. The "housemates" include a hunky but dimwitted superhero, a fairy princess, a Pokemon-like creature and an anime star.
Huff (Showtime, Nov. 7) Hank Azaria stars as a therapist struggling to sort out his own personal troubles. Oliver Platt is his best friend, and Blythe Danner is his overbearing mother. This takes Showtime away from niche dramas like Queer as Folk and The L Word and signals its attempt to lean in HBO's direction.
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