Cable network focuses on law and order programming
A&E is mining the crime drama world for a scripted hit.The channel, touting its growth as a top five entertainment-focused basic cable network, unveiled a new round of series pickups and development to advertisers on Wednesday. Given the channel’s unscripted success with crime-oriented skeins such as “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and the now-on-hiatus “Steven Seagal: Lawman” — not to mention its off-net franchises like “Criminal Minds” and “CSI: Miami” — the channel has chosen to focus on law and order in its scripted development. Following up on upcoming crime drama “The Glades,” which bows in July, A&E has several more police procedurals in the works. Scripted development includes “Criminology,” from Ridley Scott and Tony Scott; “Big Mike,” about a plus-sized detective, from Sony Pictures TV and Happy Madison (as well as scribes Ed Decter and John Strauss); and “American Crime,” a drama following odd-couple FBI agents, developed by ABC Studios and written by “Law & Order: CI” producer Diana Son and Tanya Wexler. Other projects include “Hazel Rhodes,” from ABC Studios and scribe Daniel Cerone, about a sharp-tongued Southern detective. As reported earlier this spring (Daily Variety, April 1), A&E has given orders to the unscripted series “I’m Heavy” and “The Peacemaker.” Other previously announced unscripted projects include a reality show starring David Hasselhoff, “Growing Up Twisted,” “Strange Days with Bob Saget,” “Teach: Tony Danza,” and “Intervention” spinoff “Intervention in Depth: One-Man Rehab.” Development slate also includes the Scott brothers’ miniseries “Coma,” based on the book by Robin Cook and the 1978 Michael Crichton-directed pic of the same name. On the Bio channel, new series include William Shatner-created “Shatner’s Aftermath,” an hourlong focusing on the lives of newsmakers like the Unabomber and Bernie Goetz subsequent to the headlines that made them famous. Other new series include “I Survived…” spinoff “Beyond and Back” and “My Ghost Story.” New specials include new “Inside Story” two-part docus on “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Halloween,” in addition to the previously-annouced “Jaws.” Net has renewed “Shatner’s Raw Nerve” and “Mobsters,” among others.