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A&E locks in docs in sked revamp

Fresh, hour-long docs at 9 p.m. nightly

NEW YORK — A&E has rejiggered its primetime schedule to guarantee that at 9 p.m. Monday through Friday it will program a fresh hourlong documentary for the 1998-99 season. The yearlong program investment for the documentary strategy will come in at about $15 million.

Although not commenting on the dollar figure, Michael Cascio, senior VP of programming for A&E, said, “Every night, we’ll bring viewers an in-depth, contemporary report on an interesting subject.”

Beginning June 29, Mondays will feature the returning “Investigative Reports” series; Tuesdays a new show called “Inside Story”; Wednesdays the continuing “American Justice” program; Thursdays the 10-month-old “The Unexplained” (which will debunk things like UFOs and pyramid power); and Fridays a new program from Arnold Shapiro (“Scared Straight”) called “L.A. Detectives.”

The thread linking all five is that the umbrella host will be Bill Curtis, who now produces and hosts “American Justice” and “Investigative Reports.”

A&E, eager to brand its entire primetime schedule, will continue stripping “Biography” at 8 o’clock on weeknights and announced earlier that it would schedule a mystery hour every night at 10, beginning June 29.