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CBS News, A&E pact

CBS News Prods. will produce an original series for the Arts & Entertainment network, “The Twentieth Century,” based on the CBS News series recounting historical events that aired on the network from 1957-66.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace will host the show, with 22 episodes being produced for fall 1994.

Walter Cronkite hosted the original run.

The project continues the network practice of finding ancillary outlets for their news divisions in areas like cable and first-run syndication with programs whose appeal may be more limited than network fare. ABC News, for example, is working on a magazine show for the Lifetime network, and NBC News Prods. produced the first-run series “Memories … Then and Now.”

In addition, “Twentieth Century” represents the sort of material CBS was said to be considering for its own basic cable news-and-information network, a concept hatched and ultimately abandoned as part of the jockeying over retransmission consent deals with cable systems.

Finally, it’s intriguing that A&E would buy such a show from CBS News, since two of the network’s owners are CapCities/ABC and NBC. The deal certainly makes sense for A&E, whose highest-rated programs have been historical documentaryseries, including “The Real West” and “Civil War Journal.”

Sam Roberts, director of programming and exec producer of CBS News Prods., will exec produce the A&E show. The web produced 156 segs of the show in its initial run.

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