A&E extends ‘Family’ run

Simmons reality show gets another season

A&E has said yes to a third season of “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels,” upping its order to 24 half-hours from last season’s 20.

The decision was an easy one: “Jewels” is A&E’s second highest rated series ever in adults 18-49 and 25-54, behind only “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” “Jewels” did even better in the second season than the first, leaping by 15% in total viewers to a 1.5 million average and climbing by 11% in adults 18-49 and by 8% in 25-54.

A&E’s relationship with Simmons started with a one-shot “Biography” hour of the rock legend and KISS frontman. That “Biography” episode scored so well in the Nielsens that A&E negotiated with Simmons and the exec producer Leslie Greif to create a 13-episode weekly half-hour series that would delve into Simmons’ life with his common-law partner Shannon Tweed and their teenage son and daughter.

Unlike the stars of MTV’s “The Osbournes,” the model for reality shows built around a dysfunctional rock performer and his family, Simmons and his household “are highly functional, intelligent and witty,” said Rob Sharenow, senior VP of nonfiction and alternative programming for A&E and a co-exec producer of “Jewels.” “They’re in constant motion, and Gene is always working on dozens of projects. It’s more like a scripted series than a reality show.”

While reruns of “CSI Miami” and “The Sopranos” are harvesting lots of viewers for A&E, “Jewels” is one of the weekly firstrun series, along with “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “The First 48,” “Intervention” and “Criss Angel: Mindfreak,” that have propelled A&E into the ranks of the 10 highest-rated cable networks. During the first quarter, A&E shot up by 54% in total viewers and by more than 40% in the three key adult demos (18-49, 25-54 and 18-34).

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