Ermey adds to History net tour of duty

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R. Lee Ermey, host of the History Channel's "Mail Call," has signed a two-year deal with the network that will expand his presence on the air and online.

As part of the deal, Gunnery Sgt. Ermey -- a Golden Globe nominee for "Full Metal Jacket" whose recent credits include Fox's "House" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake and prequel -- will work with History to develop new series and specials. He will also play a major role in the Web sites History.com and Military.History.com.

"It's such a rare combination to find a personality as large as R. Lee Ermey's is in the entertainment world while simultaneously being as credible and respected as he is in the world of the military and armed services," said Nancy Dubuc, the former A&E executive who became executive vp and GM of sister network History Channel in January. "He's going to have a presence broader than 'Mail Call' and be an original voice of" the History and Military History brands.

In "Mail Call," which debuted in 2002 as a half-hour series, Ermey answers viewers' questions about the evolution of combat technology through on-location demonstrations and short segments that provide historical context. For its eighth season, which debuted March 16, the show expanded to an hour.

Dubuc said that Ermey's new series will be in the spirit of "Mail Call" and in the military genre but have a different point of view and format. Details are being finalized.

In addition, History.com will complement "Mail Call" and the other programming hosted by Ermey with additional footage, information and images. New Web site features will also include a sound board glossary, in which the user clicks on a favorite "Gunny" word to get its definition and also hear him repeat the word.

Ermey, who served 11 years active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, has starred or appeared in about 60 films, including "Apocalypse Now," "Seven," "Dead Man Walking," "Leaving Las Vegas" and the upcoming "Solstice."
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