The cable portion of the TCA Winter Press Tour wrapped up over the weekend, with the rest of the cable networks making their presentations. Remember, even though the cable portion of the tour wrapped up Saturday, cable networks owned by the major broadcast networks are still scheduled to make presentations this week.
Rainbow (We, AMC, IFC)
-AMC – the home of must-see dramas Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and new smash hit The Walking Dead may have another one up its sleeve with The Killing, based on a miniseries from Denmark called Forbydelsen. The Killing is set in Seattle (but filmed up the road in Vancouver) and follows a trio of stories surrounding the homicide of a young girl. Look for it to premiere April 3rd at 9 p.m. (CT). Also, AMC announced that Mad Men resumes production on Thursday, and has already been picked up for a fifth season.
- We, who competes with Lifetime and Oxygen for female viewership unveiled a new reality show featuring Grammy Award-winning artist Toni Braxton and her sisters titled Braxton Family Values (yes, just what we need – more Keyshia Cole/Kardashian reality show knockoffs.) And Joan Rivers also has a docusoap on the network with her daughter Melissa.
- IFC is launching two new shows in the first quarter – a magazine show based on the faux newspaper The Onion and Portlandia, a comedy show which looks at Portland, Ore. in a unique way.
Hearst (A&E, Lifetime)
- A&E has a show Prison Break fans will love. Okay, maybe they’ll love. It’s called Breakout Kings, from executive producers Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora. It’s like Prison Break – but a little more on the lighter side and the series are non-serialized. The U.S. Marshals Office makes a deal with some convicts and in return, they help nab criminals on the run. According to Santora (as quoted by the Los Angeles Times), "It's not about breaking out of prison. It's about what happens after they break out."
A&E also announced it was renewing Storage Wars for a second season and started production on a new series titled Relapse (I suppose Recovery is the sequel to this show…)
- Lifetime – you know, the one female-targeted cable network who doesn’t feature housewives catfights and bad girls behaving badly? Well, it has several projects in the works this winter with made-for-TV movie (remember those?) The Amanda Knox Story, a ripped-from-the-headlines flick which looks at the real-life story on how a Seattle college student murdered her roommate Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) stars in the film. Lifetime is also rolling out several new non-scripted series next month: One Born Every Minute (reality show set in a hospital maternity ward); Seriously Funny KIds (a take off of Kids Say The Darndest Things with Heidi Klum); Quad Squad (reality series about quadruplets attending a Minnesota high school; and Glamour Belles (a reality show set in a pageant gown shop.)
The premium channel announced it was continuing production on Spartacus: Blood and Sand, despite the departure of star Andy Whitfield due to illness. Producers of the series say they will continue to search for his replacement. Since Whitfield’s illness delayed production of Blood and Sand, Starz is launching Spartacus: Gods of the Arena in its place starting January 21. Starz is also planning a reboot of Torchwood (so soon? seems like Torchwood ended like weeks ago…) and launched new series Camelot in April.
- Home Box Office unveiled a numerous slate of new series, movies, and specials to appear on the premium channel this year. The most anticipated panel at TCA – at least outside of Oprah Winfrey’s – was one for new sci-fi/fantasy drama Game Of Thrones. Based on the Song of Ice and Fire written by George Martin, the series is about a battle of power and family values in an environment where violence is common. Martin appeared on stage with three of the stars and showrunner David Benioff and criticized the way television handles Science Fiction. In fact. Martin left television completely to write novels after he felt his vision was being compromised by greedy, narcissist television execs. The series premieres April 17 for a ten-episode run.
- HBO also announced it was airing a five-hour miniseries based on the 1941 novel Mildred Pierce and starring Kate Winslet. And yes, there was Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) via the magic of satellite to promote The Pee-Wee Show on Broadway. Shot in front of a live audience, the special contains elements of his popular CBS Saturday Morning Show and a stage show he did when the TV show was airing. Let’s hope a movie theater isn’t involved.
- Also on tap on HBO, the channel picked up new comedy Girls from Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham; an airing of one-man play Thurgood with Laurence Fishburne in the title role set for Feb. 24; and a documentary on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas college basketball team and their one-time controversial championship-winning coach Jerry Tarkanian. It airs March 7.
It was a Beverly Hills, 90210 reunion at TCA – of sorts: Jennie Garth, Jason Priestly and Luke Perry are scheduled to appear in several made-fors for Hallmark with both Priestly and Perry appearing in Goodnight for Justice… Hallmark also signed former Food Network star Emeril Lagasse to star in a new daily cooking show embedded within Martha Stewart’s daytime block… TV Guide Channel told the press in Pasadena it was launching a new reality show set in a nail salon. I guess TV Guide Channel’s next reality show will be set in a Laundromat.