MyNet turns to reality

'Jail,' 'Academy' in network's lineup

Fox’s MyNetworkTV is getting real.

Departing from its 2006-07 emphasis on low-budget, English-language, primetime telenovelas featuring stars like Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, which never caught on with viewers, the struggling young broadcaster has commissioned four reality series for this fall.

One, from John Langley, who created and produced “Cops,” will train its cameras on convicts as they go about their daily lives “once the sheriff throws away the key.” Called “Jail,” the half-hour series will focus on “the harsh and sometimes humorous” incidents that take place behind bars, taped in prisons throughout the U.S. (The first three episodes take place in Tampa, Fla.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Las Vegas.)

Joining “Jail” on MyNet’s Tuesday night schedule is “The Academy,” a one-hour series from Fox Reality and Scott Sternberg, which tracks the gantlet run by trainees as they put themselves through the 18-week regimen, both mental and physical, drawn up by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.

Every Wednesday, the network’s back-to-back reality hours are “Divorce Wars” (working title) and “Meet My Folks.”

Stage 29 Prods. and its exec producer Jay McGraw have set up a “Divorce Wars” house where married couples on the verge of splitting up immerse themselves in a last-ditch five-day crucible of counseling and therapy.

Bruce Nash’s company will produce “Meet My Folks,” a former NBC series that puts parents in control of whom their children date. Potential boyfriends or girlfriends have to resign themselves to “a series of revealing secret interviews, fun tasks and the all-knowing lie detector.”

MyNet has greenlit between 10 and 15 episodes of these four series, net prexy Greg Meidel said. And he’s said yes to 15 new hourlong episodes of the cancelled Fox network series “Paradise Hotel,” which pitchforks a group of single men and women into a luxurious resort area, encouraging sexual hijinks. MyNet plans to schedule it beginning next March. Fox Reality and Mentorn USA are the producers.

Also in the works are what Meidel calls “instant specials,” referring to standalone hours produced by NBC Universal’s syndicated TV magazine “Access Hollywood” dealing with celebrities who turn up in tabloid headlines. So far this season, “Access Hollywood” has put together two separate hours for MyNet on Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears.

Returning to MyNet for another primetime season is “IFL Battleground,” a two-hour Monday series on mixed martial arts athletes, focusing as much on behind-the-scenes footage as on actual matches, which gets a repeat every Saturday night.

Also back are theatrical movies on Thursday and Friday, with titles ranging from the six “Rocky” pictures to “U.S. Marshals,” “The Amityville Horror” and “Carrie.”

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