A&E Fires First Shot in Wedding Wars

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Pasadena, Calif. -- The team that created controversial cable-TV movie The Reagans is addressing a divisive issue -- gay marriage -- as a romantic comedy for A&E Network.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said they expect a mixed response to Wedding Wars. "It's better to put a message out when people don't know they're getting one," they added.

Eric Dane is the campaign manager of the governor of Maine (James Brolin). Dane is planning a re-election campaign while nearing his own wedding, which is being planned by his gay brother (John Stamos). When, as part of his political maneuvering, Dane's character writes an anti-gay marriage speech, Stamos’ character goes on strike. Gays throughout the country follow suit and shut down vital industries.

Brolin told critics at the Television Association Critics tour here that he would not be channeling Reagan again, joking that Stamos does a better presidential impression than he does.

Wedding Wars is scheduled to air on A&E in the fourth quarter.

Network executives also announced the fall debut of a concert special, Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us, and said they've ordered a third season of Criss Angel: Mindfreak. The latter show attracts the youngest average audience (32) to A&E.

A&E is developing other shows including Confronting Justice,profiling the criminal, victim and law enforcement dealing with criminal acts.

The network will also expand upon its franchise of reality series with the debut Aug. 7 of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, a show about the home life of the KISS front man, common-law wife Shannon Tweed and their two children.