TCA tour spotlights wired world's p'gramming

Cable networks are looking to poker, sex and single girls to help maintain the momentum gained by the cable sector with original programming in 2002.

The topics are featured in upcoming small-screen projects that emerged Monday from the first of three days dedicated to cable at the Television Critics Assn. January press tour.

Members of the wired world from Scripps’ fledgling Fine Living channel to the Turner Networks made presentations about upcoming programming at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. Hallmark Channel, Fox Cable Networks’ National Geographic channel and Rainbow’s AMC and WE: Women’s Entertainment also presented Monday.

Highlights of new cable programming revealed Monday:

  • Poker is going primetime on the Travel Channel via a weekly series chronicling the World Poker Tour. Producer Steven Lipscomb, founder-CEO of the tour, has been developing the skein for several months.

    Series, set to debut in April, follows 13 poker events held in casinos around the world. Poker champ Mike Sexton and actor-poker expert Vince Van Patten provide play-by-play, while Shana Hiatt hosts. The tour culminates in a championship tourney with a multimillion-dollar prize pool. Travel Channel is expected to announce details of the show as part of its presentation today.

  • Technology-lifestyle network TechTV announced several new projects, including the series “Wired for Sex,” which examines technology’s role between the sheets. The weekly half-hour will debut in the second quarter. Also on tap for spring is half-hour weekly “Spy School,” focusing on secrets of spy orgs.

  • WE has greenlit production on spec “TV & the Single Girl,” which chronicles the evolution of single women on the small screen. “Single Girl” will preem in March. The network also will roll out a second season of reality series “Single in the City” on March 9. Program additions to WE’s sister net AMC were previously reported (Daily Variety, Jan. 6).

  • Hallmark Channel unveiled a telepic starring Tim Matheson, Sean Young, Kristen Bell and Ed Asner to debut in June. “The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay” was written by Michael de Guzman and based on his novel of the same name. Robert Halmi Jr. and Alpine Prods.’ Larry Levinson are exec producers.

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