A&E opens Lunden’s doors

Cabler to produce 10 episodes of docu skein, announces fall fare

NEW YORK — A&E Network has picked up nine episodes of “Behind Closed Doors With Joan Lunden” to air this fall. Ten further installments will be produced by the cabler for premiere beginning in January.

Lunden produces in addition to hosting the hourlong documentary skein, which previously aired as a series of specials on ABC. “Behind Closed Doors” will be joined on A&E’s fall slate by another new weekly docu series, “First Prize,” which will give viewers a glimpse into the subcultures around various contests and competitions taking place across the U.S.

A&E has announced its dramatic fare for fall and next year. “Robert B. Parker’s Thin Air,” with Joe Mantegna, will preem in September. A telecast of “Peter Pan,” starring Cathy Rigby, will air in October. Two “Horatio Hornblower” pics and “The Great Gatsby,” with Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd, are all set to bow in 2001.

History, Bio programs

A&E digital spinoff networks the Biography Channel and the History Channel also have announced their fall programming.

Among original shows on Biography’s fall sked are explorer-themed “Howard Carter: Treasure and Triumph” and D.C.-focused “Election Week.”

‘Fathers’ of history

The History Channel’s primetime slate includes four-hour mini “Founding Fathers,” narrated by James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Michael York and Burt Reynolds; quizzer series “History IQ”; and “This Week in History,” co-hosted by Josh Binswanger and Giselle Fernandez.

Docus preeming on sister network the History Channel Intl. include the auto-racing special “Peking to Paris: The Mad Motorists”; architectural-spectacle series “How Did They Build That?”; and WWI-themed series “The Western Front.”

The A&E Network’s current distribution is 80 million homes; the History Channel reaches 63 million; the Biography Channel and the History Channel Intl. each reach 1.2 million.

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