Cable Plans its Fall AssaultThe competition is gaining momentum 8/22/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern
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.
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
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
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.