A&E announced at its upfront that it would be sticking with rehab, cops, and celebrities, picking up new shows that sound a whole lot like its old shows. Playing it just about as safe as possible, the network that airs Intervention will now, gasp!, air some Intervention-type shows, including I’m Heavy, about overeaters in treatment programs, and Intervention in Depth: One Man Rehab, about addicts after their intervention. A&E will add reality shows with Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider, Bob Saget, Tony Danza, and David Hasselhoff to a roster that already includes Kirstie Alley, Gene Simmons, and Dog the Bounty Hunter. (The Hoff show will not be Intervention: David Hasselhoff, but will follow him as he tries to get his daughters into the music business.) And though it already has reality-cop shows like Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force on its schedule, A&E will add two more.
On the scripted side, the network is being no more original, trying to find a series to take the place of Patrick Swayze’s The Beast by ordering up four shows about different kinds of crime-solvers (a psych professor, a fat detective, a pair of Feds, and a Southern homicide detective). Even A&E’s next miniseries copies what came before: Coma, about a hospital where patients keep falling into, well, comas, was a 1978 movie directed by Michael Crichton, the best-selling author who wrote The Andromeda Strain, A&E’s last big miniseries. Of course, at the upfront A&E bragged that its ratings have only gone up over the past six years—it can’t be particularly eager to mess with a proven formula. The brass must have their fingers crossed that audiences never tire of reality cop shows about bringing fugitives to justice.