Cable Upfronts

Apr 2, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Reality, Olsen twins in Fox’s lineup

The Fox Family Channel will be targeting teens and tweens with 26-episode commitments for four new daytime series for 2001-02, including “So Little Time,” a live-action comedy starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (“Full House”), and “Survivor”-style reality for teen-agers will get a development tryout on Fox Kids Network.

Shows announced by Maureen Smith, president of both Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network, at the New York upfront presentation also include three animated series on Fox Family: “Totally Spies,” about three Beverly Hills teens turned secret agents; “Braceface,” another angst-of-adolescence comedy, produced and voiced by Alicia Silverstone; and “Da Mob,” about a teen hip-hop band.

Also in the hip-hop development hopper at Fox Family: “The Alley,” a music and lifestyle series for tweens, and an untitled live-action half-hour series from Debbie Allen (“Fame”) about a divorced mother of two who starts her own dance company.

Teens and tweens are hardly immune to the reality craze, so it’s not a surprise that Fox Kids is developing “Fox Kids Big Adventure,” a six-episode reality/game show in which teams of teen-agers will be flown to Hawaii to compete-as the network puts it-in “bone-chilling dares and outrageous challenges” for “Cold, hard cash!”

New series heading to Fox Kids for 2001-02 include “The Ripping Friends,” 13 animated episodes from John Kricfalusi, the creator of “Ren & Stimpy”; “Evolution” and “Outer Dimension,” two sci-fi-themed animated series, each with 26 episodes; “Shinzo,” an anime-style series with 30 episodes; “Transformers: Robots in Disguise,” with 39 animated episodes; and “What’s With Andy,” with 26 animated episodes.

`Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ gets animated

Fox Kids Network is developing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series.” The cartoon will be produced by Joss Whedon, the guiding presence behind the WB series as well as the writer of the big-screen original.

The prospective half-hour will be set during Buffy’s high school years and “tell all the stories we never got to tell about Buffy and her friends,” Mr. Whedon said in a statement.

In the announcement made during the Fox Kids Network and Fox Family Channel’s upfront presentations in New York, Maureen Smith, president of both Fox Kids and Fox Family, predicted the animated “Buffy” will “undoubtedly become one of our marquee series,” signaling not only the show’s importance but the likelihood it will get beyond the development stage. It could be on the Fox Saturday morning schedule as soon as February 2002, Ms. Smith said.

Food Network unveils new series

Food Network, the cable outlet perhaps best known for its Spartan in-studio productions, is going on a higher-calorie programming diet, committing to 950 hours of original programming for the new season beginning in June.

“Content diversity” is the mandate, according to Judy Girard, the network’s president. The first course Food will be serving up consists of “Unwrapped” and “Appetite for Adventure,” two regular half-hour series debuting the week of July 16.

“Unwrapped” will delve into the history of Twinkies and bubble gum, among other foods, while “Appetite” will whet an interest in foods associated with the outdoor life and adventure. Limited series bubbling up for summer and early fall include “Cooking School Stories,” a culinary twist on the basic reality-programming recipe, and “My Country, My Kitchen,” in which top chefs revisit their ancestral roots (and spices).

Fall will see the premiere of “Healthy Living,” a weekly half-hour in which real people get dietary makeovers designed to promote healthier lifestyles.