A&E sets fall docu slate

'Cleopatra,' Roberts' 'Old Friends' to bow next season

“Sex and the City’s” Kim Cattrall will narrate the A&E documentary “Antony and Cleopatra,” one of several docus the cabler announced during the Television Critics Assn. press tour Thursday.

“Antony and Cleopatra,” about the Egyptian queen and the Roman general whose ill-fated bid to control an empire nearly altered the course of history, is skedded to debut on A&E in November. Also on tap for this fall are docus “Uncut: The True Story of Hair,” for October, as well as the previously reported “Old Friends,” with Julia Roberts, for December (Daily Variety, July 2).

A&E also said it will preem three entertainment-oriented docu specs during the upcoming TV season, including “Best of Both Worlds,” which Granada Factual USA is producing in association with A&E Network. “Best,” slated for first quarter 2003, follows two travelers on their way to great destinations, one doing so first-class, the other on a budget.

Also aimed at the first quarter is “Role Reversal,” from Optomen Prods. in association with A&E, during which gender experts transform three ordinary men into women and three ordinary women into men. It’s based on British TV series “Boy Meets Girl.”

On-the-job docu “It’s a Living,” produced by Hybrid Films in association with A&E, is set to debut Sept. 23.

Richardson rap

Meanwhile at the press tour, thesp Patricia Richardson, who is joining the cast of Lifetime drama “Strong Medicine,” made it clear that “Home Improvement” won’t be joining the list of shows doing reunions if she has anything to say about it.

“I just always think those things are cheesy,” the longtime “Home Improvement” star said of TV show reunions. “It would be hard to imagine, but I guess you never say never. It would just be hard to imagine.”

Richardson joined a “Strong Medicine” panel during Lifetime’s sesh to talk about the former Army doctor she will portray beginning with the seventh episode of the show’s third season, which kicks off July 21.

Edgy fare

Also bowing July 21 on Lifetime is the drama “For the People,” starring Lea Thompson, Debbi Morgan, A Martinez and Cecilia Suarez. The show’s creator-exec producer Catherine LePard (“7th Heaven”) said Lifetime was “unflinching in the face of some issues” she plans to deal with that broadcast nets won’t touch.

“It’s ironic that some of the biggest balls in television belong to Lifetime Television for Women,” LePard said.

Lifetime’s sesh marked the first TCA appearance by Barbara Fisher as exec VP of entertainment for Lifetime Entertainment Services, a post she took on in May. While Lifetime continues to dominate the primetime cable ratings game, Fisher said, “We still have not scratched the surface of what we can do with this brand.”

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