A&E stocks up on celebrity reality projects

8:49 AM PST 05/05/2010 by James Hibberd, AP

Eight new series included in latest upfronts

A&E is stocking up on celebrity reality projects with new series starring David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, Dee Snider and Tony Danza. In addition, the network is also ordering both a spin-off and a companion series to its popular "Intervention" franchise.

The announcements are part of A&E's upfront pitch to advertisers which includes eight new series and touting six consecutive years of ratings growth. The network also cited the development of four new scripted crime procedurals and a remake of the movie "Coma" produced by Ridley and Tony Scott.

Reality continues to be the network's stock in trade, with the network ordering "I'm Heavy," which is billed as a companion to "Intervention." Each of the 10 episodes will show overeating patients undergoing a six-month treatment program, with the story of two individuals shown in each episode (Tijuana Entertainment/Megalomedia). Eating disorder shows have received a sudden surge of interest from networks in recent weeks, with E! and Oprah Winfrey's OWN network announcing titles.

The network has also ordered "Intervention in Depth: One Man Rehab," five episodes of program that shows what happens in the months after an intervention. "One Man Rehab" follows a team of "sober companions" who struggle to keep addicts from relapsing (GRB).

In the celeb reality genre, A&E has ordered an untitled project starring Hasselhoff as a stage dad trying to help his daughters break into the recording industry. The show is untitled and 10 episodes have been ordered for Q4.

"Strange Days with Bob Saget" has the actor-comedian immersing himself in strange cultures, practices and occupations. Six episodes were ordered for later this year (Tijuana Entertainment/Brillstein Entertainment).

"Growing Up Twisted" stars Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider in a docusoap following him and his suburban family. Seven episodes have been ordered for Q3 (Evolution Media).

"Teach: Tony Danza" has the former "Taxi" star teaching an English class in a Philadelphia high school, with seven episodes ordered for this year (Boutique TV).

A&E has also ordered two crime-related shows. One is "The Squad: Prison Police" which premieres in the third quarter and is about a team of special agents who investigate prison crimes in Tennessee (Wild Eyes Prods). Ten episodes have been ordered. The other is "The Peacemaker" follows a "violence prevention counselor" in South Central, Los Angeles. Five episodes are ordered for Q4 (OOG Prods).

On the scripted side, the network is following up the success of "The Andromeda Strain" miniseries by developing Robin Cook's "Coma" with Scott Free Productions.

Other scripted developments include several crime procedurals, including a series from Scott Free titled "Criminology" about a psychology professor who helps solve crimes, and "Big Mike," about a plus-sized detective from Sony TV and Happy Madison. There's also "American Crime" about a pair of FBI agents, and "Hazel Rhodes" about a Southern homicide detective, both from ABC Studios.
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