Cabler also acquires off-net 'Wipeout' rights

Looking to take advantage of new viewers coming from its first year co-presenting college basketball’s March Madness, TruTV has greenlit development on eight projects, while also acquiring off-net cable rights to ABC’s “Wipeout.”

After having a best-ever year in key demos in 2010, TruTV further improved in the first quarter of 2011, culminating in the opening round broadcasts of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that were fed viewers from other Turner networks and CBS. Since being rebranded from CourtTV three years ago, the network has lowered its median age from 51 to 44.

“TruTV continues to deliver a growing audience with valuable demo delivery for our increasing list of advertising partners,” said Turner Entertainment ad sales/marketing and acquisitions exec VP and COO Linda Yaccarino.

Showing satisfaction with its direction, TruTV has renewed 20 series in 2011, with “Hardcore Pawn,” “Black Gold,” “Full Throttle Saloon” the latest to get new season orders, and “Lizard Lick Towing” getting an extended first season. The development slate echoes the existing fare in its male-oriented diversity.

Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and RD Independent Prods. are behind “MotoClash,” an inside look at the world’s most dangerous motorcycle race, while NFL Films is working on “Semi-Pro,” about the lives of regular guys who play low-rent football as a side gig.

Another competitive-themed title is “Guinness World Records,” in which two brothers coach others trying to make their mark in the well-known encyclopedia of extremes. High Noon Entertainment (“Cake Boss”) produces. A different kind of competition takes place in North South Prods.’ “Impractical Jokers,” in which four friends vie to outdo each other with the most awkward social pranks ever.

Even more offbeat might be “Chill” from Entertainment One and Left/Right, about over-the-top ice sculptor Joe O’Donoghue (aka “Joey Ice”).

Two projects feature family-run businesses: “South Beach Tow” from Nuyorican Prods. and Bodega Pictures, and repo-centric “Bear Swamp Recovery” from Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment. Then there’s “Hollywood Taxi” (Irwin Entertainment) about a driver who presides over a fleet of nearly 300 cabs.

“Wipeout,” the Endemol-produced format that premiered on ABC in 2008,is to begin its off-net run on TruTV in the fall.

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