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With the broadcast networks focused on their upfront presentations in New York this week, several cable networks made a slew of programming announcements Monday.
MTV Networks’ Logo, which targets gay and lesbian audiences, said it has greenlighted a second season of “The Big Gay Sketch Show” less than a month after the show’s premiere. Logo also is developing a music reality show with former ‘N Sync member Lance Bass, though the network didn’t provide further details, along with a scripted action-comedy series tentatively titled “Gayonic Man,” about a gay bionic man, from former “Queer as Folk” regular Robert Gant and “The Brady Bunch Movie” writer Rick Copp.
“Sketch’s” second season, which goes into production in the fall for an early 2008 premiere, will feature online audience participation and other interactive features that give users the ability to influence and participate in some of the sketches, which falls in line with MTVN’s emphasis on viewer interactivity.
“Sketch” is executive produced by Joe Del Hierro, Dan MacDonald and Rosie O’Donnell. Jim Biederman also executive produces.
In other cable news, Fox Reality and sister broadcast network MyNetworkTV are joining to bring back the reality series “Paradise Hotel,” which had a 32-episode run on Fox starting in June 2003. The series follows 11 eligible single guests who live together in an exclusive resort, pairing up with one another. At the end of each week, the roommates shuffle and someone is evicted from the hotel.
The new series will premiere in early 2008 on both networks. The original production company, Mentorn USA, will produce the new series with executive producers Dan Barraclough and David Leach.
Also on Monday, Buckeye CableSystem, which serves more than 150,000 customers in northwest and north central Ohio and in southeast Michigan, said it has reached an agreement to carry another Fox Cable Networks channel, the Big Ten Network, when it launches in August. Buckeye will carry the network, which covers the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions, in its expanded basic level of service and also its high-definition feed.
IFC also officially announced that it is developing a half-hour scripted comedy series starring Chris Kattan (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) titled “Bollywood Hero.” The eight-part series features Kattan, playing himself in the otherwise fictional comedy, as he grows tired of being rejected as Hollywood leading-man material and heads to India in search of his ideal role in Bollywood. The series is executive produced by Snackaholic and 3 Arts Entertainment in conjunction with Kattan.
In addition, IFC has promoted Debbie DeMontreux to senior vp original programming. DeMontreux joined Rainbow Media’s Bravo Networks, comprising Bravo (now owned by NBC) and IFC, as a scheduling coordinator in 1993 and worked her way up the ranks, most recently serving as vp original programming for IFC.
Meanwhile, sports and entertainment network MSG said Monday that it has ordered six new original documentaries to air this year. Star Crossed Pictures will produce the docus, which include “Spring of ’94” (airing at 9 p.m. Monday), centering on the New York Knicks basketball team and New York Rangers hockey team going after their respective championships in 1994; “Mecca of Boxing” (June) and “Hip Hop & MSG: The 34th Street Beat” (July), spotlighting past events at Madison Square Garden; “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans Remembered” (August); “The Concert for New York Remembered” (September); and “Diamond at the Rock: 75 Years at Radio City Music Hall” (September).
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