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TCA Notes - Broadcasting & Cable

TCA Notes

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Make No Little Cable Plans

With Pete Rose making headlines, ESPN is fast-tracking a biopic about the disgraced baseball legend. Announced at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles last week, Hustled: The Pete Rose Story could be ready as soon as October. It is based on Major League Baseball's report on Rose's alleged gambling on baseball. ESPN doesn't expect objections from MLB. ...

Despite modest ratings for season one, A&E is renewing British spy drama MI-5 for a second with 10 new episodes. Upcoming A&E reality shows include The First 48, which will follow Philadelphia's team of homicide detectives investigating murder cases; Dog the Bounty Hunter, a reality show starring bounty hunter Dwayne "the Dog" Chapman, his wife Beth and their 12 children; and, on the lighter side, Family Forensics, where a family moves out of their home for two days and forensic experts move in to investigate how they live. ...

After two seasons on HBO, Miramax Television's filmmaking reality show Project Greenlight is moving to NBC-owned Bravo. The Bravo version, slated for 2005, will focus on horror films. New reality shows coming to Bravo include Significant Others, in March, where improv actors play married couples in and out of therapy, and Blow Out, about a Beverly Hills beauty salon, planned for summer. ...

Fine Living bills its upcoming series Your Reality Checked as a "real reality" show. Slated for March, it will follow people who set out to realize dreams, such as opening a bed-and-breakfast, and the harsh realities they face in the endeavors. The Scripps net is also teaming up with The Wall Street Journal on a new show culled from the paper's weekend section. ...

In an attempt to bring in more young viewers, Sci Fi Channel is opening up a second night of original programming. on Thursdays featuring reality and animation. The lineup debuts March 4 with new reality show Mad, Mad House, hidden-camera show Scare Tactics and futuristic animated show Tripping the Rift. ...

USA Network is at work on three new limited series. 4400, executive-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, centers on 4,400 missing people who return to Earth. USA is remaking Scarface as a multi-hour project set in the Miami crime world. Affairs to Remember is a six-hour series that tackles infidelity among three interwoven couples. ...

E! Entertainment Television is crafting a comedy pilot based on Los Angeles stage production In Their Own Words: Celebrity Autobiographies. The show, slated to debut on E! in March, will feature performers acting out excerpts from celebs' autobiographies. E! will also weave in video footage and still photos. ...

TLC wants to give someone a chance to land their dream job with new six-episode series Help Wanted, debuting April 19. Five contestants will compete in trials of stress, physical endurance and intense questioning as they vie for a shot at a job. Sister net Animal Planet
is jumping into dog shows with the AKC/EUKANUBA National Championship on Jan. 31, which will also be on Discovery Channel. Discovery Channel's latest animal show is a departure from its usual high-end documentaries. On Animal Face-Off, a 12-episode show debuting March 21, mechanical animal replicas will square off in computer-generated duels to see which species will survive.

ESPN Mulls Playmakers Fate

ESPN expects to decide the future of controversial pro-football drama Playmakers by early March, according to SVP of Original Programming Ron Semaio. The NFL's objections to the show, which depicted players in some unseemly situations, is being considered. "We are not in the business of antagonizing our partners or rights holders," Semaio said. If Playmakers returns, it could be back on by September.

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