A&E making real moves

Cabler adds 'Dog' year, greenlights 'Hollywood'

A&E has greenlit “Sons of Hollywood” and extended the life of the channel’s reality staples, including “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Intervention.”

News arrives just days after A&E’s upfront presentation to advertisers, during which execs promised to funnel $500 million into original programming for the group’s suite of cable nets next year.

“Sons of Hollywood” follows the sweet life of Spelling scion Randy Spelling and showbiz pals Sean Stewart (son of Rod) and talent agent Dave Weintraub as they move out of their parents’ homes and try life as roommates.

A&E committed to a pilot last month (Daily Variety, March 14) and now has ordered up eight episodes from I Candy and exec producers J.T. Taylor (“The Osbournes”), Nancy Dubuc, Robert Sharenow and Michael Morrison. Series is slated for a first quarter 2007 premiere.

Cabler also has locked in series pilot “The Beach,” a real-life “Baywatch” focusing on the lifeguards who live, work and party in Huntington Beach. Irwin Entertainment produces.

Renewals include the following:

  • Fourth seasons of top-rated “Dog” and “The First 48” start this summer.

  • A third season of “Intervention” has been set for late 2006/early 2007.

  • Second seasons of tattoo parlor show “Inked” and magician skein “Criss Angel Mindfreak” will be back May 31. A&E has ordered up 20 more episodes of each.

  • As previously reported, a new cycle of “Dallas SWAT” begins later this year (Daily Variety, March 14).

  • Several episodes have been added to the initial order of frosh skein “King of Cars.”

Also upcoming are new series “Driving Force,” a 10-episode reality show about racecar legend John Force and his three drag-racing daughters on July 17, and “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” a docusoap about the Simmons clan on Aug. 7.

A&E is off in first quarter ratings, down 8% in its target 25-54 demo and 15% overall, but the cabler continues to lower its median age, now at 44, and can boast improvement in the 18-49 and 18-34 categories.