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A&E preps U.S. Crime net

Nonfiction network to focus on reality crime

A&E Networks is readying to launch the Crime & Investigation Network in the U.S.

Net has already made its international bow, preeming on Australia’s Foxtel Jan. 1, but carriage deals with Stateside cable ops and satellite distributors have not yet been reached. That’s expected to change after a free preview of the digital spinoff is made available to A&E Networks affiliates April 2.

Crime & Investigation will be dedicated to forensics, justice and mystery programming. A&E topper Abbe Raven, who has been tapped to oversee the net, said the majority of shows will be nonfiction, focusing on “real people and real crime.”

“From global focus groups, we learned that viewers enjoy the challenge of investigative programming — looking at the pieces of a puzzle and trying to figure out for themselves where the answer lies,” said A&E Networks CEO-prexy Nick Davatzes.

Lineup for the web will include a mix of series and specials (both original and from the A&E library), theatricals and acquired product. Raven said solid A&E performers “Cold Case Files” and “American Justice” are a perfect fit for the digital net but that original content is also a priority.

“There are many other series we can develop out of our library,” she said. “Having produced in this genre for so long, we have a firm grasp on what works and what doesn’t.”

Other programming in the pipeline includes “Investigative Reports,” “The Big House,” “Dead Reckoning,” “Parole Board,” “LA Detectives,” “The Hunt,” “Inside Story,” “100 Centre Street,” “With Malice” and “Riverman.”

A&E Networks is also currently shopping a fourth spinoff net, the Military History Channel (Daily Variety, Jan. 3). Company’s portfolio already includes digital nets History Intl. and History Channel en Espanol.

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