TCA: A&E back in originals game

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A&E Network is jumping back into original scripted series with spy drama
MI5.

The series, based on a British show called Spooks, is joint production
between A&E and the British Broadcasting Corp. and is slated to debut on A&E this summer.

A&E canned its two scripted dramas, Nero Wolfe and 100 Centre
Street
, last year due to a combination of low ratings and high production
costs.

MI5 tracks the exploits of the British secret services
counterterrorism unit, and it will play in 16 hour-long episodes.

It's A&E's first new series since Abbe Raven, former head of
The History Channel, took over last fall.

"This is highly relevant in a world where we see those terrifyingly high stakes
in our lives every day," Raven said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles.

A&E is tweaking its scheduling, as well, adding several theme nights.

Monday nights will feature mystery movies, and Saturday nights offer off-net
dramas Crossing Jordan and Third Watch.

A&E's stalwart Biography will move to Sunday nights, and Friday
will house documentaries.

Upcoming documentary specials will include Role Reversal, where two
men and two women experiment with swapping sexes, and Insiders View, a
project on Princess Diana from interviews with her personal secretary.

An original biopic on Bette Davis is in the works, and A&E is pitching
Susan Sarandon to play Davis.

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