Trio flips for docs on flops

Cabler focuses on failures not hits

Universal’s Trio cable network will celebrate some notable movie and TV failures in June, highlighted by the original documentaries “Flops 101: Lesson From the Biz” and “Final Cut: The Making of ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and the Unmaking of a Studio.”

Lauren Zalaznick, president of Trio, said she prefers the word “flop” to “failure” because failures “disappear without a trace,” whereas flops become almost emblematic, or what she calls “pop-cultural landmarks of doom.”

For the week of June 7, Trio has bought a cable window to Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld,” David Lynch’s “Dune” and William Friedkin’s “Jade” (the movie that sank David Caruso’s ambition to be a movie star), running them under the rubric “The Greatest Movie Flops of All Time.”

Zalaznick said she’s negotiating with MGM TV Distribution to buy a run of arguably the granddaddy of all theatrical-movie flops, Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate.” The 90-minute docu on the movie is based on “Final Cut,” the nonfiction book by Steven Bach, who was an executive at United Artists during the making of “Heaven’s Gate.”

Narrated by Willem Dafoe, “Final Cut” features interviews with, among others, Kris Kristofferson, Jeff Bridges and Brad Dourif, all of whom acted in the movie; Vilmos Zsgimond, the cinematographer; and David Brown, one of the producers. Michael Epstein wrote, directed and produced “Final Cut.”

“Flops 101” deals with movies like “Ishtar” and “Waterworld”; TV series like “Cop Rock” and “Coupling”; and stage works like “Taboo” and “Seussical.” Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey exec produced “Flops 101” for their company World of Wonder.

Trio has scheduled episodes from three short-lived TV series during June: “Cop Rock,” Steven Bochco’s musical police drama; “My Mother the Car”; and “Pink Lady & Jeff.”

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