INFORMATIVE LIFESTYLE PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS CABLE PRESENTATIONS
Hollywood, CA – Informative and educational lifestyle programming and powerful scripted movies, specials and series highlighted presentations of upcoming original content from more than three dozen cable channels this week as the summer tour of the Television Critics Association (TCA) got under way here.
The depth and variety of programming choices on display underscored the $11 billion investment in programming made by the nation’s basic and premium cable networks over the course of the past year in an effort to provide better programs, more choice and greater value for cable consumers. It also further bolstered the steady gains in viewership made by basic and premium cable channels in recent years. Viewership of ad-supported basic cable programming now regularly surpasses viewership of broadcast network programming in total day and primetime viewing.
“Cable’s networks have previewed for TV writers another vibrant and rich slate of original programming that’s sure to resonate with viewers,” said Jill Luckett, Vice President, Program Network Policy, for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). “This fine work is the product of thousands of talented and creative people in cable’s programming companies, as well as the investments that they and cable operators have made to provide greater quality and variety on television.”
Critics on the tour also were introduced to the growing volume of high-definition television (HDTV) content from cable networks that are producing original HD programming, including Bravo, Discovery HD Theater, ESPN, HBO, and Showtime.
Programming designed to inform and enhance the lives of television viewers dotted this week’s presentations on the tour. Highlights of upcoming lifestyle-oriented programming included:
- Invent This!, a profile series of modern-day American inventors and inventions on TechTV;
- Style Court, a witty and intelligent “courtroom” series on style, in which fashion “defendants” are on trial for their “look,” and in which some “defendants” are “sentenced” to fashion makeovers;
- Keeping Time: New Music From America’s Roots, an original documentary series from Sundance Channel profiling the growth of American roots music in contemporary America;
- Dance Fever, a revitalized version of the popular variety show of the ’70s and ’80s, updated to focus on the development and professional challenges of aspiring dancers, executive-produced by Merv Griffin and appearing on ABC Family;
- Mix it Up, created for WE: Women’s Entertainment by celebrity couple Courteney Cox and David Arquette, and dedicated to helping couples blend their personal living styles with creative interior decorating;
- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a funny and fast-moving “makeover” series, in which a team of smart and tasteful gay men offer advice to straight male counterparts on fashion, grooming, interior design, food & wine, and culture, on Bravo;
- Simply Wine, a series for wine connoisseurs and laymen offering practical tips on finding and tasting great wines, from Fine Living;
- Buff Brides, a series from Discovery Health Channel based on the popular book by Sue Fleming, that follows a group of 20 brides for 12 to 16 weeks as they “slim down and tone up” prior to their weddings;
- Hey Remember!, a series from HGTV featuring expert commentary on trends in décor and home furnishings through the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s;
- Dream Job, an ESPN series offering aspiring sportscasters the opportunity to compete for a one-year, on-air contract as a SportsCenter anchor; and
- Merge, a series that helps newly married couples combine their individual belongings and create a household, on Lifetime.
- Worlds Apart, a National Geographic Channel reality series that transplants an American family into a remote culture to experience firsthand the lifestyles and traditions of other peoples;
- Cambridge Spies, a BBC America entry that tells the story of four of the world’s most infamous and successful spies;
- A Tale of Two Wives, Oxygen’s first original movie and a romantic comedy starring Peter Gallagher and Cheryl Hines that follows the exploits of a marriage counselor who is married to two women at the same time;
- Smoking Gun TV, a one-hour Court TV special that brings to life Court TV’s website, thesmokinggun.com, which unearths “scandalous, entertaining and downright bizarre documents;”
- National Lampoon’s Funny Money, an innovative and rapid-paced game show from Game Show Network featuring live stand-up comedy acts;
- The Cheetah Girls, a Disney Channel original movie based on the popular book series by author Deborah Gregory, which celebrates the friendships and perseverance of a group of diverse teenage girls as they pursue their dreams;
- A Decade Under the Influence, a documentary from IFC that chronicles breakthroughs in American film-making during the decade from 1967 to 1977;
- Wuthering Heights, an MTV made-for-television movie that updates the original classic;
- Romeo!, a live-action comedy series starring hip-hop mogul Master P and his son, 13-year-old platinum recording artist Lil’ Romeo, on Nickelodeon;
- Go Inside: Animal House a behind the scenes look at the making of this comedy classic, on Spike TV (formerly The New TNN: The First Network for Men);
- DC Sniper, a USA Network movie starring Charles S. Dutton, based on the investigative work of Montgomery County, MD, Police Chief Charles Moose and the law enforcement team that sought the perpetrators of the Washington, D.C.-area sniper attacks in 2002;
- Battlestar Galactica, a modern twist on the science fiction classic television series, and starring Edward James Olmos, on SCI FI;
- Nefertiti Resurrected, a Discovery Channel Quest that chronicles an expedition to a mummy whose features suggest that it may be Nefertiti, the famed and controversial royal of ancient Egypt;
- Kid Notorious, an animated and semi-autobiographical series focused on the life and times of Hollywood legend and producer Robert Evans, on Comedy Central;
- Extreme History with Roger Daltrey, a half-hour series on History Channel that follows program host Roger Daltrey as he takes viewers back in time to experience the gritty realities of some of history’s great moments, such as the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and the wooden boat trip of John Wesley Powell through the rapids of the Colorado River;
- MI-5, A&E’s new spy drama about Britain’s famed security intelligence agency;
- The L Word, an upcoming dramatic series about the lives and loves of a group of women, many of whom are lesbians, on Showtime;
- The Goodbye Girl, an original film remake of Neil Simon’s Academy Award-winning film, directed by Richard Benjamin for TNT; and
- And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, a portrait on HBO of the Mexican revolutionary, played by Antonio Banderas, and focusing on his dealings with movie giants D.W. Griffith and Harry Aitken, who bought the exclusive rights to film Villa’s Mexican revolution to create Hollywood’s first action movie.