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Bratt tops pack in USA originals

Network announces three telefilms

Former “Law and Order” leading man Benjamin Bratt has signed to star in the USA Network telefilm “After the Storm,” based on Ernest Hemingway’s short story.

The vidpic is one of three telefilms that USA announced Tuesday at the Television Critics Assn. Tour. The others are “The Expendables,” starring Robin Givens and Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”), and “Delicate Cutting,” featuring Sean Young. The cabler plans to air 24-30 original films before the end of 2001.

Lucre lust

In “Storm,” Bratt will play an ethically challenged loner who, along with a wealthy friend, sets out to find sunken treasure in the Bahamas. Guy Ferland (“Telling Lies in America”) will direct from a script adaptation by A.E. Hotchner. Nelle Nugent will exec produce the telepic, which is slated to air in the fourth quarter. Production is scheduled to begin in Belize in March.

“The Expendables,” skedded to air April 25, concerns six female prisoners given freedom in exchange for their participation in a covert operation. The telefilm follows the women as they attempt to free a political prisoner from a Cuban jail. Janet Meyers will direct from a script by Patricia Resnick, Peter Geiger and Bruno Heller.

‘Cutting’ edge

In “Delicate Cutting,” tentatively scheduled to air May 30, Young will play the mother of a troubled teen girl who mutilates herself. Norma Bailey will direct from a script by Dennis Nemec. Ronnie D. Clemer, Bill Pace, Sharon Cicero, Richard P. Kughn, Richard Berman and Brian Schlicter exec produce.

USA also announced plans to premiere “Core Culture USA,” a one-hour series featuring the alternative sports lifestyle, on April 1. Created and exec produced by Doug Allen, “Core” will profile athletes who participate in extreme sports and highlight some of the world’s top extreme sports competitions. Weekly segs will include Adrenaline Junkeez, which will profile new musical acts.

USA sister net the Sci-Fi Channel said it is in the early stages of development on two new original series which could eventually air on Friday nights.

Monthly series “Sciography,” set to preem in spring, will delve into the backstory of a different classic sci-fi series each episode. The comedy “Beer Money” will feature an alien who is discovered by three slackers. Rich Wilkes (“The Jerky Boys”) and Amy Brown are producers. Wilkes will also serve as the series’ writer.

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