The best-laid plans take time, and with programmers meeting in a few weeks for NATPE, some studios are still working hard. Below are last-minute projects that missed inclusion in our show-by-show listing (page 36):
The Adventures of Jules Verne
Here's something to fit nicely with tech-heavy NATPE: a series delivered in HD. The $40-million weekly series chronicles the imagined adventures of writer Jules Verne ( 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days
). Each episode follows star Chris Demetral (Jules Verne) as he leads his friends on trips aboard a flying machine. The show is produced by Talisman Crest Films and domestically distributed by Promark Entertainment.
Pearson Television North America offers comedian Andrew Dice Clay as the lead in this new action-comedy series. Clay plays a New York City street hustler and small-time boxing promoter who is transported back in time to ancient Rome. In the vein of last summer's hit film Gladiator, Clay is forced into a do-or-die position of booking spectacular battles between Roman gladiators.
Warner Bros. and its Telepictures Productions division look to follow their success with Change of Heart, with this half-hour series. The "survival" dating show follows one contestant and four potential romantic partners on a group date where, round by round, three of the four possibilities are eliminated. The final person standing gets a separate date with the contestant.
Sources say this Studios USA Domestic Televisions (SUDT) talker hosted by Kathy Levine is a long shot for NATPE 2001, but they insist the Home Shopping Channel guru shouldn't be counted out. "With the [syndicated] market so crowded now, SUDT is looking at its options," says one source.
"We have high hopes for the show and don't want to put it in a position where it will fail." Quips Levine, "It's definitely a talk show, but I'd be happy sell you something. I have a piece of Joan Rivers' jewelry that I'm trying to get rid of."
Former Melrose Place
star Antonio Sabato Jr. is the star of Pearson Television North America's weekend action series that revolves around international motorcycle racing. Patrick Hasburgh, who developed and produced The A-Team
and a number of other prime time series, is the executive producer of Lean Angle.
The Tom Leykis Show
The nationally syndicated radio personality brings his pro-male philosophy/mantra to TV syndication. Leykis will host his own talk show that will feature one topic per episode and a number of panelists or experts debating various hot issues. The talk show is being produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television.
This half-hour strip from Columbia TriStar Television Distribution (CTTD) follows 10 singles whooping it up on a Carnival Cruise Line ship. Episodes, positioned for late night, will offer a look at each group's three-day "first date" to such exotic locales as the Bahamas and Mexico. Although Shipmates'
executive producers are set-veteran reality team Bob Young and John Tomlin (Inside Edition, American Journal)-CTTD hasn't officially green lit the show for next season.
What About Your Friends?
Described as an African-American Dawson's Creek, What About Your Friends
? is a weekly one-hour show based on HBO's award-winning special of the same name. The syndicated version will be executive produced and independently distributed by Cleveland O'Neal, who was behind HBO's version.
Available in the summer as a 13-week miniseries, What About Your Friends'
plans call for the show to star actors from the original special. O'Neal believes his show can deliver the diversity the TV industry seems to want, plus fill the void left by several canceled teen series.