MyNet keeps it real in fall

'Jail,' 'Divorce' top new lineup

MyNetworkTV on Tuesday unveiled a reality-heavy fall schedule that will include a pair of new series — the prison-set "Jail" and relationship-centric "Divorce Wars" — along with a couple of familiar titles: the dating show "Meet My Folks," which previously ran on NBC, and the unscripted series "The Academy," which debuted Thursday on sister channel Fox Reality.

The network also is bringing back mixed martial arts-themed "IFL Battleground" on Mondays as well as the Thursday and Friday night "My Movie" blocks. "Academy" and "Jail" will air Tuesdays, while the tentatively titled "Divorce Wars" and "Folks" will air Wednesdays.

The new schedule will kick off the first week of September with the exception of Wednesday nights, where the dramas "American Heiress" and "Saints & Sinners" likely will finish in late fall. MyNet previously had announced it would be backing away from the scripted business to focus on more unscripted programming.

"We've continued to evolve," said Greg Meidel, president of MyNet, which launched in September with an all-telenovela schedule. "We've made a lot of strategic changes … and become kind of a destination for our core demo (adults 18-49)."

Tuesday nights will now be slotted with series set in the world of law enforcement and will take advantage of the promotional platform afforded by "IFL" on Mondays to lure that show's male viewers the next night, Meidel said. "Academy," the show from Scott Sternberg Prods. that follows a class of recruits at the rigorous 18-week course at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Training Academy, will air at 8 p.m., followed by back-to-back episodes of the new half-hour series "Jail" at 9 p.m. That show — from John Langley, creator-producer of Fox's "Cops" — follows inmates around the U.S., from their initial booking to their first moments being locked up.

As previously announced, MyNet originally intended to air new unscripted series on Tuesdays starting next week but now has decided to save those shows for fall, Meidel said, adding that Tuesday nights throughout the summer will be a third movie night.

"The main reason we decided to hold off premiering 'The Academy' in June and keep it until September was because we thought it would be a perfect fit with 'Jail,' " Meidel added.

Following the finales of "Heiress" and "Saints," Wednesday nights will feature relationship-oriented programming skewing toward females, with the tentatively titled "Divorce Wars" airing at 8 p.m. and "Folks" at 9 p.m. "Divorce Wars," from Stage 29 Prods. executive producer Jay McGraw, will feature husbands and wives who are struggling with various issues. In a stab at keeping their marriage together, the couple will enter a house for five days, submitting themselves to 24-hour surveillance and counseling on working out their issues.

"Folks," from Bruce Nash, originally aired on NBC from 2002-03. The show centers on parents deciding who dates their children by putting the potential suitors through a series of secret interviews, tasks and a lie detector. Meidel said MyNet will initially air repeat episodes of the show, with the goal of going into production on new episodes "later in the year."

In addition, entertainment newsmagazine "Access Hollywood" will produce 10 new "exposes" with an eye toward a quick turnaround so they can air with breaking celebrity news. Recent "AH" specials on Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears gave the network its highest household ratings ever.

Other specials will include exclusive coverage of two live AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour events: the "Croc's Cup Championship" from Cincinnati on Sept. 1, which will mark MyNet's first-ever live telecast, and the "Gods & Goddesses of the Beach" from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Sept. 8.

Thursdays and Fridays will continue to be "My Movie" nights. Titles will include the first four "Rocky" films, "U.S. Marshals," "The Amityville Horror," "Carrie" and "Snatch." Meidel said "Amityville" and "Carrie" are targeted to air the weekend before Halloween and noted that the movie nights have boosted MyNet's ratings by at least 100% on the competitive Thursday night landscape.

As previously announced, MyNet also has partnered with Fox Reality and Mentorn USA to develop new episodes of "Paradise Hotel," set to debut in March. Shot on location in Mexico, the program will follow a group of single people living in a luxurious resort and competing to see who can stay in the hotel the longest. The networks will air slightly different versions of the show, Meidel said. "Hotel" originally had a 32-episode run on Fox starting in June 2003.
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