At the Television Critics Association summer tour this
month in Pasadena, Calif., cable networks unveiled details of their programming plans for
the late summer and fall. Here are some of the shows and plans that were announced.
Nickelodeon and Bill Cosby are teaming up to produce a
new animated preschool series called Little Bill, based on Cosby's
best-selling books for beginning readers. Little Bill will air during "Nick
Jr.," Nick's preschool block. The show will feature two stories that explore the
ordinary and extraordinary events that make up the daily life of a small child.
E! Entertainment Television will roll out its new
24-hour network on fashion and design, called "style," Oct. 1, according to E!
president and CEO Lee Masters. E! has also debuted an enhanced version of Coming
Attractions, its weekly news and previews show, for WebTV Plus. This enhanced
programming will combine E! Online and Moviefinder.com content with Coming Attractions
telecasts. WebTV Plus subscribers will be able to access movie facts -- including cast
information and up-to-the-minute news -- in a seamless application. They can explore E!
Online's content while simultaneously watching Coming Attractions through
WebTV's "WebPIP," or picture-in-picture, technology.
Veteran National League Football analyst Paul Maguire will
return to ESPN, joining Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann in the three-person booth
for the network's Sunday Night Football. And Jim Kelly, quarterback for the
Buffalo Bills in four consecutive Super Bowls, will join ESPN's Sunday NFL
Countdown pregame show. ESPN's expanded two-hour Countdown will make its
1998 debut Sept. 6 at 11 a.m.
Turner Network Television's fall slate of original
movies includes: Legalese, about a high-profile murder case involving a legal eagle
played by Jim Garner, which airs Oct. 4; Houdini, which airs Dec. 6; and Hard
Time!, the first of three films starring and directed by Burt Reynolds.
Nick at Nite'sTV Land will launch its
reruns of All in the Family with a weeklong marathon Oct. 12 to 16, airing from 9
p.m. to 1 a.m. All in the Family joins TV Land's schedule permanently Oct. 19.
As part of that initiative, TV Land will present one of the two pilots, which has never
aired in its entirety, for the show that was originally titled Those Were the Days.
American Movie Classics in September will celebrate the
30th anniversary of science-fiction film Planet of the Apes by presenting all five Ape
movies and a two-hour original special hosted by Roddy McDowell, Behind the Planet of
the Apes. AMC will present a two-day festival Sept. 6 and 7, a daylong festival Sept.
12 and a weeknight festival the week of Sept. 21. The special will feature exclusive
behind-the-scenes footage, screen tests, rare photographs and home movies of the making of
the saga, as well as interviews with Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter and Linda Harrison.
FX is starting production on 65 half-hour original
episodes of Instant Comedy with the Groundlings, which will premiere this fall. The
series will showcase the improvisation of the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe. FX has also
picked up 40 new episodes of Bobcat's Big Ass Show, starring comedian Bobcat
Goldthwait. And the network will premiere Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular,
a one-hour variety show based in Las Vegas, Aug. 10.
BBC America outlined its programming plans for the
coming season, which include running six parts of Hamish McBeth, starring The
Full Monty's Robert Carlyle, starting Oct. 8. BBC America will also air the
"Britcom" Brilliant!, beginning Sept. 29. The four-part drama The Crow
Road, based on the acclaimed novel by Iain Banks, will air on BBC America Dec. 1 to 4.
In addition to discussing its previously announced slate of
original movies, A&E Network said it will premiere One on One with David
Frost -- George Bush: A President's Story Aug. 25. Biography also has a
four-hour special on the "Rat Pack" -- Frank Sinatra and his compadres -- that
will air later this year, as will a two-hour episode on The Hustons: Hollywood's
Maverick Dynasty. On Sept. 20, A&E will air an Investigative Reports with Bill
Curtis episode on The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison.
Sci-Fi Channel will start airing its digitally
remastered, 90-minute versions of the original Star Trek episodes Sept. 1. Each of
the show's 80 episodes has been remastered with restored footage, with William
Shatner and Leonard Nimoy set to host them in their first run and second presentation,
respectively. Sci-Fi has also reached deals to develop a two-part, four-hour miniseries
based on two of Isaac Asimov's novels, Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun.
TheHistory Channel has awarded syndication
rights to Horizon Media for its "Timelab 2000" project, a series of more than
200 one-minute, noncommercial history capsules that will air during the next two years.
The package of segments, hosted by actor Sam Waterson, will be offered to broadcast
stations across the country for local-news packages, with the stations having the right to
air them starting in January.
History will also premiere David Frost's Inside the
Cold War, a two-hour special, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. And History has its own two-hour
Vietnam special, Coming Home: The Veteran Experience in America, which will debut
Nov. 8 at 9 p.m.
Discovery Channel will air Lost Warriors of the
Clouds, about the archeological find of more than 200 mummies in Peru that are roughly
500 years old, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. The show follows Dr. Sonia Guillen as she mounts a
mission to rescue the mummies from their cliff-side mausoleums in an area reachable only
by a 25-mile trek through the jungle.
The Learning Channel will offer first-person accounts
of Vietnam veterans in its six-part miniseries, Vietnam: The Soldiers'Story,
which is hosted by ABC News correspondent Jack Smith, himself a veteran of that war. The
miniseries will air Oct. 11 to 13 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., repeating from midnight to 2
a.m. each night.
Home Box Office has signed Emmy Award-winner Chris Rock
to an exclusive three-year deal. The agreement covers the new 13-episode season of his
late-night show that begins in August, as well as two stand-up specials. Other projects
will be announced. The Chris Rock Show kicks off its third season Aug. 21.