Cable Nets Deliver the News at TCA


Announcements about new shows, specials and telefilms — as well as series renewals and additional episode orders — came fast and furious last week as pundits gathered for the Television Critics Association summer press tour here.

Comedy Central said it would bring Chappelle's Show
back for a second season. Comic Dave Chappelle's sketch program was the network's second highest-rated original series, behind South Park.

On Oct. 10, the channel will unwrap its second original movie, High Private Eye, about a small-of-stature detective. Later this year, Comedy will unveil a new comic showcase and roll out more installments of limited-run series The Colin Quinn Experiment.

Game shows based on the syndicated series Access Hollywood
and the classic board game Scrabble
are two of several original shows and documentaries Game Show Network is currently developing, network executives told the critics. President and CEO Rich Cronin said Game Show is working on a documentary about the video-game industry. The network will ramp up in this arena, airing one documentary per month by next June.

In November, the network will also launch a series of short-form programs on Saturday nights under the umbrella moniker "GSN's Games Across America." Shows will highlight events from different parts of the country, such as New York's famed Nathan's hot-dog-eating contest.

For its part, Oxygen told the critics it would deliver an original comedy block Fridays in primetime on Oct. 17, replacing its movie lineup.

Girls Behaving Badly
will kick things off. Life's a Bitch, Hey Monie
— a joint animated production with Black Entertainment Television — a new season of Talk Sex With Sue Johanson
and The Ellen DeGeneres Show
are also part of the new block.

Oxygen said it would also put its toe into original telepic waters, with A Tale of Two Wives. Debuting Oct. 11, the film stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as one of two women married to a man afraid of marital boredom.

E! Entertainment Television gave the green light to additional episodes for It's Good to Be,
Love Chain
and Celebrities Uncensored, part of its recently launched "All New. All True. All Summer." franchise. New episodes are set to debut this fall.

Sister network Style said it will debut a new home-designing show this fall featuring New York TV personality Brini Maxwell, who will provide viewers with lifestyle and household tips.

Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer told the critics her network was working on an eight-hour miniseries focusing on the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle for 2004, as well as a six-hour miniseries based on best-selling book Red Mars. Sci Fi will also accelerate its original movie production slate to 22 for the 2004-05 season.

USA Network announced it will bow Touching Evil, a scripted-drama series produced by Allen and Albert Hughes (Menace II Society, From Hell) next year.