A&E Jumps Back Into Scripted-Series Arena


Pasadena, Calif. -- Apparently, A&E Network doesn’t have enough drama with acquired series like The Sopranos and CSI: Miami, so it’s going to create its own genre-based skeins.

The network announced Monday at the Television Critics Association Tour here that it has six original scripted-drama pilots in production and hopes to launch at least one series by early 2008, according to senior vice president of drama programming Tana Nugent Jamieson.

In addition, the 91 million-subscriber network will pair Boomtown stars Donnie Wahlberg and Jason Gedrick in new original drama movie Kings of South Beach, premiering March 12. A drama-based movie miniseries is also in the works for later this year.

Jamieson said the network’s decision to return to the scripted arena -- its last effort was in 2001, with 100 Centre Street and Nero Wolfe -- was based on the appeal of The Sopranos, which bows Wednesday night, and CSI: Miami.

“It’s going to be a good fit and a companion piece for [acquired] shows like The Sopranos,” she added. "We’re not going to go for content you would typically see on other networks."

The original scripted pilots include: Dry River, a crime drama set in a wealthy Texas boarder community; an untitled project from producer Steven Bochco about a married couple in a family law practice specializing in divorce; and The Hunt, about a former LAPD cop who spends time in prison and finds himself outside of the criminal-justice system looking in.

Also on the docket is Y3, about a thief turned good who dons an NYPD uniform to help solve crimes; an as-yet-untitled NYPD anti-terrorist project; and Johnny the Great, which revolves around the life of a hedonistic defense attorney.

The network also announced that it is returning several reality and documentary series including The First 48, King of Cars, Intervention, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Gene Simmons Family Jewels and Criss Angel Mindfreak.