A&E rides into ‘Bordertown’

Al Roker reality show follows drug wars

Al Roker Entertainment has made its third sale since TCA: A&E has placed a 10-episode order for the shingle’s “Bordertown: Laredo,” a new unscripted half-hour that follows six Mexican-American cops as they battle drug cartels on the Texas-Mexico border.

It’s been a busy few weeks for ARE. The Weather Channel picked up “Coast Guard: Alaska” in late July, and last month saw Spike nab “Big Easy Justice,” a co-production with Bodega Pictures and Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican, slated for February.

Law-enforcement reality shows are tricky, said topper Roker, but success breeds success. “Laredo,” set to preem Oct. 13 at 10:30, is possible in part because of the company’s treatment of similar subject matter in the past. “We’ve worked with a number of law enforcement agencies before this,” Roker said, pointing to “DEA,” which ran for two seasons on Spike. “We’ve done stuff with the ATF (his “Armed in America” special on MSNBC) as well, so we have a certain rapport and we can work with these folks, and that gave them a certain amount of comfort.”

Same with “Coast Guard: Alaska,” on track to debut Nov. 9. “Al had done something with them on the ‘Today’ show, and it was spawned out of that,” said ARE veep of production and operations Tracie Brennan. “We’ll be following some rescue swimmers and some of the other rescue work that they’re doing there.”

And while unscripted crime skeins may be ARE’s bread and butter, there’s likely some variety in the company’s near future. “We have an animated project we’re working on with Emeril Lagasse,” Roker said. “I’d love to do a gameshow. We’ve got our hands in a lot of different genres.”

Anything he’s against? Just one: “If we never do another show that has me in it, I’m thrilled.”