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Nov 19, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Tuesday Nov. 19

Maher gets talker on HBO

Bill Maher is returning to television in a new late-night one-hour HBO talk show.The show, debuting Feb. 21, has a 20-episode commitment. “Politically Incorrect,” Mr. Maher’s political talk show on ABC, was canceled after advertiser and affiliate defections that followed his post-9/11 remarks that were perceived as critical of U.S military tactics. Mr. Maher’s supporters at the time pointed out that the show was meant to be provocative and decried what they said was censorship.

The new series will be produced by HBO in association with Brad Grey Television. The executive producers are Brad Grey, Bill Maher and Marc Gurvitz.

ABC plans ‘Hot’ reality series: ABC is readying a new reality series called “Are You Hot?” from Mike Fleiss, the executive producer and creator of “The Bachelor.” The new series will give viewers the chance to choose the hottest man and woman in the nation. The six-episode series, from Mr. Fleiss’ Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions, is slated to air on ABC in 2003. “Are You Hot” was developed by Mr. Fleiss and “The Bachelor’s” co-executive producer, Lisa Levenson. Mr. Fleiss is the executive producer.

E! Networks reorganizes its studios: E! Networks is reorganizing its in-house and outside production activities under the new banner E! Studios, which will be headed by Mark Sonnenberg, executive VP, entertainment, E! Networks.

In addition, Jeff Shore, VP of development for E! Entertainment Television, has been promoted to senior VP, production, E! Networks, and will oversee the new production entity’s original internal production activities.

As part of the restructuring, Mr. Sonnenberg is expected to soon name general managers for both E! and Style. Neither network currently operates with a general manager in place.

UPN wants more episodes of Monday comedies: UPN has ordered three additional episodes of Monday sitcoms “The Parkers” (8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., ET) and “Girlfriends” (9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.), bringing the total order for each show to 25 episodes for this season. The network has also ordered one additional episode of its sophomore Monday comedy “One on One” (8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and its freshman Monday sitcom “Half & Half” (9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.), increasing each series’ season order to 23 episodes.

Trio slates ‘East Side,’ ‘United States’: Trio, the Universal Television Group’s digital arts channel, has acquired the 1960s series “East Side/West Side,” which starred George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson, and “United States,” Larry Gelbart’s 1980 series that starred Beau Bridges and Helen Shaver, for its “Brilliant But Canceled” month of themed programming set for December.

The WB plans holiday specials: To kick off the holiday season, The WB will broadcast two world premieres: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Return to Middle Earth,” which airs Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8 p.m. to 9 p.m., ET), and the animated “A Scooby-Doo Christmas,” which airs Friday, Dec. 13 (8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.). In addition, The WB will air a second-year run of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” Thursday, Dec. 12 (8 p.m. to 9 p.m.), with an encore presentation on Kids’ WB! Monday, Dec. 23 (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.).#