Cable briefs

“Mary, Mother of Jesus,” the two-hour original movie that played during the November sweeps on NBC, will get its second run — not on NBC but on the Odyssey cable network in April.

This scheduling represents another example of the recent trend in which a broadcast network and a cabler in effect share a window on an original series or movie. The most visible examples are “Once and Again,” the hourlong drama series that premieres on ABC and then runs three nights later on Lifetime, and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which has an 11-day separation between its first play on NBC and its rerun on USA.

Odyssey has landed “Mary” because the network is a joint venture of Hallmark Entertainment and the Jim Henson Co.: Hallmark is the supplier of “Mary.”

Odyssey said it will also get the cable premiere of five older movies that premiered on broadcast TV under the Hallmark Hall of Fame rubric: “Sarah, Plain & Tall,” “To Dance With the White Dog,” “Breathing Lessons,” “Pack of Lies” and “Face to Face.”

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The Shooting Gallery will distribute “Loving Jezebel,” the first theatrical movie fully financed by John Malone’s Starz/BET Movies, in the second quarter of 2000.

“Jezebel,” an urban romantic comedy along the lines of Universal’s “The Best Man,” stars Hill Harper as a commitment-minded young man who finds himself “always ending up with someone else’s woman.” Kwyn Baker is the writer-director for David Lancaster Prods.

It’s no surprise that the Shooting Gallery has picked up “Jezebel” as the company signed a long-term output deal in May giving Starz the exclusive pay TV window for all of TSG’s theatrical releases, starting in January. One year or so after the premiere of “Jezebel” in U.S. multiplexes, the movie will make its pay TV debut exclusively on BET Movies.

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Turner South has signed the Atlanta-based comedy-improv troupe Whole World Theater to do a half-hour primetime series, beginning Thursday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m.

“Whole World Theater” will feature performances by the group in front of a live audience throwing out improv suggestions and taped segments with members of the troupe on location, “often incorporating innocent bystanders into the mayhem.”

Turner South is the newest entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting, reaching cable and satellite subscribers in six Southern states.

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American Movie Classics has renewed “The Lot,” its weekly half-hour series set in a fictitious Hollywood movie studio circa 1937, for another 13 episodes.

Starring Jonathan Frakes and Allen Garfield, “The Lot” mixes the names of real-life actors of the period with fictional characters to explore “the wheeling and dealing of the movie business at the height of Hollywood’s most glamorous era.” The executive producer of “The Lot,” Marc Juris, is also senior VP of original programming for AMC, which now reaches 71 million cable and satellite subscribers.

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