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May 12, 2009

A&E orders Bruckheimer pilot; renews nine shows

A&E is continuing its scripted push this year, developing eight original dramas, mostly crime procedurals. The projects include pilots from Jerry Bruckheimer, Shawn Ryan and Lynda Obst, as well as 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, 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, as well as projects in development such as The Lead Sheet (working title), from Shawn Ryan (The Shield), James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and Joel Gotler about the LAPD tracking the Hillside Strangler in the late 1970s, and Central Division, about two female LAPD captains, executive produced by Lynda Obst (Contact) and Marc Rosen.

New unscripted series include an untitled Tony 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. 

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.

Not on the list: A second season order for Patrick Swazye's The Beast.

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

Here's more detail on some of the shows:


The Lead Sheet (working title) – “The Lead Sheet” follows the police work of the LAPD tracking the infamous Hillside  Strangler in 1977 – 78. Each episode in this crime procedural will begin with a tip that leads to solving a different violent crime that may or may not  be related to the strangler. However, the backdrop of the Strangler case, with the fear and paranoia it created throughout Los Angeles, infuse every case with incomparable tension and thrills. “The Lead Sheet” is being developed by Fox 21 and MiddKid Productions for A&E. Shawn  Ryan (“The Shield,” “The Unit”), James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential,"  "The Black Dahlia") and Joel Gotler will executive produce the Ellroy-penned script.

Central Division (working title) –  Follows two female LAPD captains as they run a dangerous downtown division, the only division with women in the top two positions. “Central  Division” is being written by Anne McGrail ("CSI: NY," "Boomtown"), executive produced by Lynda Obst ("Contact," "The ‘60s") and Marc Rosen and developed by CBS Television Studios for A&E.
The Quickening (working title) - A bi-polar LAPD detective must wrestle with the fact that the medication she has been prescribed makes her "normal" but  her disorder, with all the paranoia and risks it comes with, makes her extraordinary. “The Quickening” was written by Jennifer Salt  ("Nip/Tuck," "Eat, Pray, Love").

Untitled  Matthew Carnahan Project – From Matthew Carnahan ("Trinity," "Dirt," "Fastlane") and Emmy® winner Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace,” “Lantana”) comes a unique twist on the procedural crime drama in which the tales of a  group of up-and-coming criminals chasing their American dream are told in the  first half of the show, while the second half tells the stories of the FBI  Task Force charged with tracking them down. Instead of law and order, it’s  crime and punishment. The Untitled Matthew Carnahan Project is written by Carnahan, executive produced by LaPaglia and is being developed by Warner Horizon Television for A&E. Carnahan would also direct the pilot.
Night Falls (working title) - A NYC beat cop  survives a near fatal shooting and emerges with an unusual neurological side-effect. The secret he carries, which is triggered by how the  darkness alters his brain chemistry, threatens to transform him into a modern day Jekyll and Hyde. "Night Falls" is being developed by Varsity Films in association with Lionsgate Television for A&E. The script is written by Daniel Connolly. Brian Robbins (“One Tree Hill,” Varsity  Blues) serves as executive producer.

NY’s Finest (working title) - Tracks the new commissioner of a large U.S. city and his personal detail as he injects his own leadership style into the job, turning the city upside down. “NY’s Finest” is written by Charles Murray (“Criminal Minds,” “Third  Watch”) and produced by Thom Beers (“Deadliest Catch,” “Ax Men”) and Philip Segal (“The Real World,” “Ax Men”). ABC Studios and Original Productions are developing for A&E.


Untitled Kevin Costner Western –  Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner ("Dances with Wolves," "JFK") has partnered with producer Armyan Bernstein ("The Hurricane," "Open Range") to develop a four-hour, two-part epic Western mini-series which will explore how  the West was settled and fought for by all sides in what became the biggest conflict following the Civil War. The script, being penned by Jon Baird, Chris Baird and Keith Quinn, will center on the founding of a town and the  characters that had a dream that turned out to be a greater struggle than any  of them could have imagined. Costner and Bernstein will serve as executive producers. 


Untitled Tony Danza Project (13 x 1/2 hours) -  He's a beloved sitcom actor, talk show host, Broadway star, cookbook author,  and a former pro boxer.  But long before “Taxi” and “Who's the Boss?,”  Tony Danza received a degree in history education - and he's now returning to  his roots to teach high school students in his native New York. In this real-life version of “Welcome Back Kotter,” Tony will spend a school year as an actual, certified teacher. The Untitled Tony Danza Project is  produced for A&E Network by Greif Company with Leslie Greif and Adam Reed as executive producers. Executive producers for A&E are Robert Sharenow and Neil A. Cohen.

Steven Seagal: Lawman (13 x 1/2 hours) –  Premiering Summer 2009. His movies have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. He is an expert martial artist, with a 7th-degree black belt in Aikido. He's considered to be in the same class of action heroes as  Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But it turns out that Steven Seagal isn't just an action hero in the movies. For almost 20 years, Seagal has been working as a fully-commissioned deputy with the Jefferson  Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana. In addition to going out on patrol, Seagal is an expert marksman who has worked with their SWAT team and  has instructed Jefferson Parish officers in firearms and hand-to-hand combat. The series will allow fans to ride shotgun with Seagal as he and his  hand-selected elite team of deputies respond to crimes-in-progress.Then, when Seagal goes off-duty, the cameras will continue following him as he pursues his many ventures – including musical performances and  philanthropic efforts – in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans. “Steven Seagal: Lawman” is produced for A&E  Network by Granada America and Steamroller Films. John X. Kim is the executive producer, Lucas Platt is the co- executive producer, and Anna Geddes is the series producer for Granada America. Steven Seagal and Phillip B. Goldfine are executive producers for Steamroller Films. Executive producers for A&E are Robert Sharenow and Neil A. Cohen.
Obsessed (11 x 1 hour) - Premieres May 25 at 10PM  ET/PT. Building upon the phenomenal success of “Intervention,” A&E  premieres the new unscripted series “Obsessed,” exploring two individual cases  where the subjects face debilitating extreme anxiety disorders, their struggle  and the process of rehabilitation. Whether it is Obsessive Compulsive  Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder or  a variety of phobias, the unscripted series gives viewers a chance to see  first-hand how an obsession can radically affects a person’s life. “Obsessed”  not only captures the particulars of the condition but sees the subject  through the incredible emotion of one-on-one therapy sessions. By using cognitive behavioral therapy, each subject is taught how to understand their  thought process which contributes to symptoms and how to change thought  patterns, manage their anxiety and avoid the debilitating compulsions. The  series then revisits each subject after several weeks of treatment to see if  the obsession lingers. “Obsessed” is produced for A&E by Tijuana Entertainment with Troy Searer and John Foy serving as executive producers. Also executive producing for Tijuana is Rob LePlante. A&E executive producers are Robert Sharenow and Scott Lonker. 
Hammertime (10 x 1/2 hour) – Premiering Sunday, June 14 at 10PM ET/PT take a peek inside the life of Stanley Burrell who rapped and  danced his way into the hearts of America in the 1990s as MC Hammer and to  date has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and is a three-time Grammy award winner. Known for his thrilling stage shows, powerful dance moves, catchy pop hits and his community commitment, Hammer faced some very public financial woes and now lives a more economically balanced life in Oakland, California with Stephanie, his wife and confidant of more than 23 years, and  their family of six kids ranging in ages 4-21. “Hammertime” is  produced for A&E Network by 3 Ball Productions Inc. J.D Roth, Todd Nelson and MC Hammer are series executive producers. Executive producers for A&E are Robert Sharenow, Scott Lonker and Stephen Harris. 
Fugitive Chronicles (8 x 1 hour) – Shot like a feature  film, “Fugitive Chronicles” will recount some of the most compelling fugitive  captures in recent history. Each show will feature interviews of the men and  women who risked their lives to bring some of the most dangerous fugitives in  the country to justice. Each episode will feature a gripping real-life tale  and will be recounted in detail by both the hunter and the hunted. Through these interviews and dramatic reconstructions, viewers will see a rollercoaster narrative -- fast-paced and tense from start to finish, which will read like a Hollywood blockbuster. 

“The Fugitive Chronicles” is produced by Raw TV and RDF. The executive producers for Raw TV are Demitris Doganis and Bart Layton with Charles Tremayne serving as executive producer for RDF. A&E  executive producers are and Robert Sharenow, Scott Lonker and Jordana Hochman.


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