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Big & Rich on the Streets of Deadwood

June 20, 2005 12:00 AM

HBO's offbeat Western "Deadwood" is set in Deadwood, S.D., in 1876. Now the historic town is the site of a very different show. Country sensation Big & Rich (John Rich and Big Kenny), whose best-known song is "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy," is planning a concert performance on the streets of Deadwood that will air on cable channel CMT. Mr. Rich and Mr. Kenny have already made Deadwood their adopted hometown, memorializing it in the song "Deadwood Mountain" and using it as the location for their current video, "Big Time." While HBO has no involvement in the concert or CMT show, two actors from "Deadwood" are making appearances. John Hawkes (who plays Sol Star) and W. Earl Brown (who plays Dan Dority) will be featured guest performers in the concert. -JAMES HIBBERD

Lacking Reality

The Web site is defunct, the Santa Monica, Calif., offices closed, the phone disconnected. Reality Central, at least as a 24-hour cable channel, is no longer real. "It was shot in the head by a Fox," said a source, referring to Fox Cable Networks using its leverage with cable operators to launch the Fox Reality Channel. Reality Central was announced first, in 2003, but gaining carriage proved elusive. The network, headed by President and CEO Larry Namer and Chairman Kay Koplovitz, initially rode a wave of publicity tied to the reality craze, showing up at cable conventions with semi-famous reality show contestants. As it became clear in 2004 that Fox would be the only reality channel to win carriage, the start-up changed its name to Reality 24/7. Now, according to Mr. Namer, who is running parent company RTV Media out of his L.A.-area home, the network is negotiating with a Canadian company for additional funding while reinventing the concept as a video-on-demand service. It wouldn't offer reality shows but rather a mix of news, gossip and faux game shows about reality programs and contestants. For instance, the stars of "Fear Factor" might compete against the stars of "Survivor." Mr. Namer hopes to launch the first product this fall. -JAMES HIBBERD and ALEX BEN BLOCK

Stern's TV Home

While shock jock Howard Stern is set to move early next year to Sirius Satellite Radio, which will allow an uncensored format, there are mixed signals about the future of the TV version of his daily radio program. His current TV home, E! Entertainment Television, and male-oriented Spike TV are both bidding for the show, with negotiations going into overtime, sources said last week. All parties are staying quiet, but sources said Mr. Stern wants to revamp the series regardless of which network airs the program. Mr. Stern has been highly rated for E! but selling ads has been a challenge. Mainstream advertisers shy away due to the often raunchy content. That leaves advertisers such as the "Girls Gone Wild" video series, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Last year the Stern E! show garnered only $6,000 for an average 30-second spot, well below what the ratings seem to rate. Spike TV, which may be a better demo match, is already in business with Mr. Stern, and parent Viacom has shown a recent willingness to spend on programming. Last year Spike TV ordered 13 episodes of "Howard Stern: The High School Years," an animated show scheduled to debut in 2006. -JAMES HIBBERD