TV Land Near Deal for New Mr. T show

Sep 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Moving from “Charlie’s Angels” to “The A-Team,” TV Land is close to finalizing a deal to create a reality series featuring Mohawk-coiffed tough guy Mr. T, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The network has been airing original shows featuring stars of classic TV shows, most recently “Chasing Farrah,” featuring the former “Angel” Farrah Fawcett.

The new series, to be named “I Pity the Fool,” after a Mr. T catchphrase, is seen as a melding of the celebrity reality genre and a makeover show. The gruff former bouncer will be put into situations where he can offer advice based on experiences from his own life and back up his words with action.

Mr. T, whose real name is Laurence Tureaud, honed his tough-guy persona as Clubber Lang, Sylvester Stallone’s adversary in “Rocky III,” before playing B.A. (“Bad Attitude”) Baracus on “The A-Team,” which aired on NBC from 1983 to 1987.

TV Land is working with Lions Gate Television to produce a pilot, which is expected to be shot in October. A TV Land spokesman declined to comment.

In addition to running favorite old TV shows, TV Land is increasingly looking to produce original shows that fit in with its classic TV sensibility.

And following stars of classic TV shows fits the mold.

“Chasing Farrah” ran from March 23 through April 27. Its premiere episodes drew a 0.4 rating among its target demographic of adults 25 to 54, according to Nielsen Media Research. Last month the network averaged a 0.5 in that demographic.

When “Farrah” got off to an auspicious start, Mitch Semel, senior VP for TV Land and Nick at Nite, said the network would be looking for more classic TV stars to appear in original reality shows.

“We’ve got our own wish list. The challenge is we set the bar high,” said Mr. Semel, who joined the network in January to beef up original production.

Mr. T is not the only former TV star to enter the reality series spotlight. Former “Partridge Family” child star Danny Bonaduce is featured in “Breaking Bonaduce,” which was scheduled to debut Sept. 11.

TV Land has also ordered a pilot for a show called “I Did Not Know That,” a one-hour spoof of “Biography”-type shows.

“I Did Not Know That” will be hosted by Harry Shearer and produced by Nuance Productions, Paul Reiser’s production team.