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Press Tour Notes

Jan 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

During HBO’s Thursday panel about “The Sopranos,” series creator David Chase seemed stumped when asked whether the show would ever go into syndication like “Sex and the City.” “It’s a question I always try to push out of my mind and not really think about,” he said. Mr. Chase added that the show’s use of the F-word and its length would be creative stumbling blocks. Carolyn Strauss, HBO’s executive VP of original programming, said, “I think it remains to be seen.” Last week was the cable portion of the TCA Press Tour.
HBO, Comedy Central Reach Licensing Deal
Comedy Central said today it will license 138 HBO stand-up comedy titles. The deal, announced at the Television Critics Association press tour in Hollywood, includes a mix of 30-, 60- and 90-minute specials featuring talent such as Chris Rock, Bill Maher and Ellen DeGeneres.
Turner to Deploy High-Definition Network
Turner Broadcasting will deploy a high-definition network called TNT-HD. The network is planned to launch in May to coincide with TNT’s coverage of the NBA Western Conference Finals. TNT-HD will also carry the network’s upcoming terrorism series “The Grid.” Previously, TBS dipped a toe into high-definition programming by offering the NBA All-Star Game in hi-def.
ESPN Ramps Up Original Movie Production
ESPN said it will produce movies based on the lives of late race car driver Dale Earnhardt and baseball legend Pete Rose. “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story” is set to premiere later this year and “Hustle: The Pete Rose Story” is in the final stages of script development. ESPN’s other movie projects in development include “Four Minutes,” based on Roger Bannister’s breaking of the four-minute mile, and “October Men,” an adaptation of Roger Kahn’s book about the New York Yankees’ consecutive World Series wins in 1977 and 1978.
CNN Exec: No Major Changes for 2004
Turner Broadcasting kicked off the cable portion of the Critics Press Tour in Hollywood with a CNN panel including Princell Hair, the network’s recently hired executive VP and general manager. Mr. Hair pre-empted programming queries by announcing that he has no plans to make significant changes at CNN. “I’m a firm believer that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. “There are no major on-air changes planned for CNN. … 2004 will be a year of stability at CNN.” Mr. Hair also pledged that the myriad high-interest criminal trials heating up, with defendants such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson, will not prevent CNN from presenting a balanced news format. “We are not planning gavel-to-gavel coverage of any of those trials,” Mr. Hair said.
E! Sets New Reality Series
E! Networks has announced two reality programs. “Face Value” follows the day-to-day life of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. “Take Me” is a lifestyle reality show in which a person is given a fantasy vacation, then must choose one of two vying friends or relatives to take along. Both shows are being developed for Style Network, though “Face Value” may also air on E!
Sci Fi Gets `Mad Mad House’
One reality show sure to generate some press is Sci Fi Channel’s “Mad Mad House,” which stars a modern primitive, a voodoo priestess, a vampire, a Wiccan and a naturist (named Avocado), who share a house with 10 everyday “guests” who are banished one by one. “This show will change the face of American TV,” declared self-proclaimed vampire Don Henrie. “America will never be the same.”
Hallmark Slates Movies
Hallmark Channel announced several upcoming movies and miniseries, including original movie “Just Desserts,” a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of a baking competition starring Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor and featuring a guest appearance by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.