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A&E saddles up western series

The Arts & Entertainment Network is scheduling a western package to air the day before Warner Bros.’ western documentary series begins airing.

A&E has been successful with its own western docu series and wants a bit of rub off from the Warner promotion.

Extending ‘Real West’

The cable network has been airing “The Real West,” produced by Greystone Communications, and has extended its order on that show — one of its highest-rated original series ever — with 26 new episodes. A&E is scheduled to launch its second season of the show on April 1 at 8 p.m.

On March 21, the cabler will roll out a daylong schedule of western movies and past episodes of “Real West” in an attempt to gain steam from Warner Bros.’ “The Wild West,” a 10-hour documentary being syndicated as part of its Prime Time Entertainment Network.

Lemmon pledge

Warner Bros.’ “Wild West” is scheduled to start airing March 22, with most stations expected to air one two-hour installment each night for five nights. Jack Lemmon narrates. Accompanying the series will be a full-blown marketing campaign, including heavy advertising in Time Warner-owned magazines, study guides for schools and other promotional avenues.

A&E is calling its March 21 programming slate a western mini-marathon. According to the network, the goal is to showcase “The Real West” on a special day and introduce it to viewers who may not have seen it before.

During the day A&E will offer, “A&E Family Movie: The Great Sioux Uprising, “”John Wayne: Young Duke,””Screening Room: Rio Bravo,” and three episodes of the hourlong “The Real West.”

A&E’s docu series blends original footage of historic sites, photographs and the like with commentary by western experts. Fronted by Kenny Rogers, the series could be compared in style with Ken Burns’ PBS series “The Civil War.” It premiered on A&E last September. Greystone’s Craig Haffner and Donna E. Lusitana are exec producer and co-exec producer, respectively.

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