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FX will flex its ‘Shield’ in March

Name changed due to police objections

General entertainment cabler FX announced a title change to its upcoming drama series, formerly known as “Rampart,” to “The Shield” during the Television Critics Assn. Tour in Pasadena Saturday.

FX led off the Fox Cable Networks Group’s morning presentation, which also included a sesh on National Geographic Channel (a co-venture between FCNG and National Geographic Television), as well as a Q&A with Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith and Bill O’Reilly.

FX’s “The Shield,” which stars Michael Chiklis as a rogue cop, will debut in March, as will the net’s next original pic, “Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie.”

FX prexy of entertainment Kevin Reilly said the cabler had gotten some flack from the Los Angeles Police Dept. over the name “Rampart,” which was selected initially as a lightning rod to create some identity for the show.

Creator-exec producer Shawn Ryan added that the genesis of the show had nothing to do with the L.A. scandal.

During the Fox News Q&A, critics focused nearly all of their questions –which ranged from “How can you can you say you’re not arrogant?” to “What do you think of the Paula Zahn sexy promo situation?” — on O’Reilly.

“This is baloney that Paula Zahn is offended by this,” O’Reilly said of the promos that CNN pulled last week featuring his former Fox News co-worker. “She’s doing the politically correct thing by saying she is.”

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