A&E development slate hit by crime wave

Net sets eight original, seven unscripted series

LOS ANGELES -- A&E is developing eight original dramas, including crime procedurals from top-tier producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Shawn Ryan and Lynda Obst and a Western miniseries from Kevin Costner.

The cable network also renewed nine of its unscripted series and is launching seven new unscripted series.

Reality greenlights include series starring Steven Seagal and Tony Danza and a companion series to the Emmy-nominated "Intervention."

Highlights on the scripted side include a pilot order for Bruckheimer's "Cooler Kings" (working title), a "surf-noir crime show" set in Honolulu about a cop who joins a mysterious crew of detectives. Projects in development include "The Lead Sheet" (working title), from Ryan ("The Shield"), James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential") and Joel Gotler, about the LAPD's pursuit of the Hillside Strangler in the late 1970s; and "Central Division," about two female LAPD captains and executive produced by Lynda Obst and Marc Rosen.

The network intends to greenlight two pilots from its new development slate for consideration as A&E's next original drama series.

New unscripted series include an untitled Danza project billed as a "real-life 'Welcome Back, Kotter,' " with Danza returning to teach high school students in his native New York; and the previously announced "Steven Seagal: Lawman," with the former action star working as a deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana, which will premiere this summer.

In addition, A&E will air a one-hour special on the Jackson family, with never-before-seen footage and interviews.

Also, the network is developing reality projects with Bob Saget, Russell Simmons and Shaquille O'Neal.

Returning shows include "Intervention," "The First 48," "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels," "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "Crime 360," "Criss Angel: Mindfreak," "Paranormal State," "Manhunters" and "Parking Wars."

Absent from the list: A second-season order for Patrick Swazye's "The Beast," a show the network said remains under consideration.

"2009 begins our sixth year of consecutive growth in all key demos," said Bob DeBitetto, president and GM of A&E and Bio. "We've begun 2009 with our best quarter ever, and I expect that we will continue to excel as a result of our significant investment in original programming."

In the first quarter, A&E was up in adults 18-49 (720,000 viewers) and adults 25-54 (751,000).