July 12, 2006

E! molds pop culture series

By Kimberly Nordyke

PASADENA, California (Hollywood Reporter) - E!
Entertainment Television is set to take a comedic look at pop
culture events through claymation re-enactments in a new
half-hour series from the creator of MTV's "Celebrity

Titled "Starveillance," the series was one of many
announcements made Tuesday by E! Networks president and CEO Ted
Harbert during the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour
at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.

"Starveillance," from "Deathmatch" creator Eric Fogel, will
give viewers a "fly-on-the-wall view" of real or possible
events involving celebrities as they may have happened,
including marriage proposals, intimate bedroom arguments and
off-camera antics.

E! cited such events as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes having
a chance meeting with Brooke Shields at the hospital and Ashton
Kutcher and Demi Moore's first date. The half-hour show
premieres in January, and the segments also will be shown on
broadband channel The Vine @ E! Online and other platforms.

In addition, E! has ordered another season of "The Simple
Life" from 20th Century Fox Television and Bunim-Murray Prods.
and is set to launch a "new and improved" Web site next month.

E! sister channel Style Network has inked a programming and
marketing partnership with pop star Beyonce and mom Tina
Knowles centered on the singer's clothing line, House of
Dereon. The programming will include two specials, one focusing
on the singer as she prepares to release a new CD and a new
season of her clothing line, and the other a runway special.

Style also has greenlighted two new series for fall
premieres: "Style Her Famous," in which Jay Manuel of
"America's Next Top Model" helps style-challenged women, and
"Split Ends," in which two hairstylists swap places.

Harbert touted the ratings of E! and Style since he took
the job two years ago, joking that "the success is due to the
fact that Britney Spears has been pregnant every single day of
my tenure."


Earlier in the day, Sundance Channel said it has acquired
U.S. pay TV rights to the British sketch comedy series
"Swinging," which explores themes of sex, love and
relationships in Britain and will debut on the network next

Sundance also announced that it will premiere "One Punk
Under God," featuring alternative Christian minister Jay
Bakker, at 9 p.m. on December 13.

Meanwhile, BET Networks president of entertainment Reginald
Hudlin and BET Digital Networks executive vp and general
manager Paxton Baker touted several new series, including BET's
"It's Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is," "Next Level: Vince Young"
and "Beef: The Series."

Oxygen kicked off its session with a demonstration of the
Muay Thai fighting featured in its upcoming "Fight Girls" as
the reality movie's subjects and their trainer came onstage
kicking and punching.

From fighting to breaking up, Oxygen's highlights also
included the upcoming series "Breaking Up With Shannen
Doherty," featuring Doherty delivering the bad news to the

Asked how she would feel in their place, Doherty told the
group that "my reaction would be one of shock, but I would not
sign the release" giving permission to air the footage, she

She also became teary when asked about her difficult
reputation, admitting she did play some part in earning that
reputation years ago simply because she was doing the same
things any 18-year-old would do at the time but happened to be
doing it in the public eye. However, she added that it was an
"image created by people she worked with at the time."

GSN presented a lively luncheon session as two new game
shows premiering August 1 were acted out for the critics by
those involved: A self-deprecating Danny Bonaduce hosted an
abbreviated version of GSN's celebrity-themed "Starface,"
poking fun at his own travails while introducing such
categories as "Mug Shot" and "Celebrity Train Wreck"; and
Michael Davies, executive producer of "Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire," and Dylan Lane discussed the word-themed "Chain
Reaction," which Davies exec produces and Lane hosts.

Asked whether Meredith Vieira, who will become co-host of
NBC's "Today" in September, will continue to host the
syndicated version of "Millionaire," Davies would say only that
"I'm back in the studio the week of July 24, and Meredith will
be hosting."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter