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TLC Orders Dancing, Ghosts

Apr 4, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Discovery Networks’ TLC is near an agreement to greenlight two original reality series that continue to expand the network beyond the makeover genre.

“Super Natural” follows a squad of New Jersey-based paranormal investigators and “Ballroom Bootcamp” tracks ordinary people training to enter a ballroom dancing competition. Both shows are close to getting 10-episode orders for a September debut and are executive produced by Thom Beers through his Original Productions. TLC had no comment.

Mr. Beers is the producer of the Discovery shows “Monster Garage” and “Monster House.” Both have been picked up for new seasons-the fifth for “Garage,” the fourth for “House.”

“Garage” is credited with launching a slew of garage-and-gears imitators that have been populating cable for the past few years, such as MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” and TLC’s “Overhaulin.”‘ But Mr. Beers admitted that his new show “Super Natural” is following on the heels of another series-Sci Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”

“I’ve been wanting to do a paranormal show for years and `Ghost Hunters’ greased the wheels,” Mr. Beers said. “[`Ghost Hunters’ creator] Craig Piligian is a friend and he did `American Chopper’ after `Monster Garage’ came out. So this time I was like, `OK, my turn.”‘

Unlike the Sci Fi show, however, the team in “Super Natural” will take a more “X-Files” route, investigating folk tales and having a skeptic join the team for each episode.

“Our show will cover everything from UFO abductions to haunted houses to [rural myths],” he said. Mr. Beers said Original Productions produced 110 hours of television last year to the tune of $47 million in production budgets.

He is currently pitching cable networks a series he describes as “`American Idol’ meets evangelists,” as well as a show about deadbeat dads. “Nobody has yet to really capture family dynamics in a reality show,” Mr. Beers said. “The nanny shows try, but nobody has pulled it off.”

On Monday, TLC’s new executive VP and general manager, David Abraham, is scheduled to join the network. Mr. Abraham had managed Discovery’s nine U.K. channels since 2001 and fills the spot vacated by Roger Marmet, who resigned in January.