Starz to ‘Hopalong’ with cowboy docu

Hourlong show to be made under Levin, Clarke

NEW YORK — John Malone’s Starz Encore has commissioned its first original program for its Westerns minipay network: a documentary on Hopalong Cassidy.

The fictional cowboy was the hero of 66 B pictures made between 1935 and 1948 that, in edited form, became one of the programming mainstays of the early days of TV.

The pics became so popular on NBC, which had the rights to the movies, that William Boyd, who played Cassidy, put on his cowboy suit and filmed 52 fresh episodes exclusively for firstrun syndication.

The hourlong docu, “Hopalong Cassidy: Public Hero #1,” will be made under the aegis of Joni Levin and Keith Clarke, the owners of Point Blank Prods. (“MGM: The Lion Roars,” “The Warner Bros. Story”).

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