TCM Develops Original Series


Looking to widen its audience, Turner Classic Movies seems poised to jump into the original-series game next year, with a pair in development.

In addition, the vintage-movie service will premiere its first in-house documentary production in July and exhume a late-night cult-film showcase, hosted by Rob Zombie, this fall.

Executive vice president and general manager Tom Karsch said the network ordered a pilot for Take Two (working title), in which a current Hollywood star is given the opportunity to act out an iconic scene from Hollywood’s past. In the pilot from World of Wonder, Wilmer Valderrama will re-create a scene from The Lost Weekend.
“It will give the talent a chance to re-enact a scene that they can hold sacred or put a different spin on,” Karsch said.

The network is also developing Idols, in which a younger star will have the opportunity to spend a day with one of their film inspirations. “It won’t be a film review, but conversations about what the older star went through, how they dealt with the paparazzi of their day,” Karsch said, noting that discussions are proceeding on three sets of pairings. In two cases, he added, the younger talent is on board, while in the third, the older star has agreed to work on the project.

As for the documentary, TCM is turning the light on independent cinema with Edge of Outside, which features interviews with Martin Scorsese, John Sayles and Ed Burns, among others, as well as friends and crew members who worked with such cutting-edge filmmakers as Sam Fuller, John Cassavetes and Sam Peckinpah.

“This is not about the independent-film movement today; we’ll leave that for [The Independent Film Channel] and Sundance Channel,” Karsch said. “At the same time, we want to dispel the notion that independent film didn’t begin with Robert Redford at Sundance. This is not a documentary about Spike Lee, but about some of the people who inspired him to become Spike Lee.”

In October, “TCM Underground” will debut. Musician and filmmaker Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses) will host such movies as George Romero’s The Crazies, Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster and Leonard Castle’s The Honeymoon Killers.