A&E, History Reveal Programming Plans

The History Channel will launch five new series, while A&E Network will
extend its aging Biography programming brand as part of the networks'
respective 2002-03 seasons.

New History series include Secret Passages, which focuses on history's
greatest hideouts; Mail Call, which answers viewer mail inquires about
historical facts; and Basic Training, a reality series that follows six
recruits through basic training, network officials said.

Also new to the schedule are Conquest, which examines the history of
competitive sports; and Secrets of the Ancient World, featuring the most
intriguing stories of the ancient past, including early civilizations, lost
cities and religions of the world, the network said.

History will also premiere several documentaries and miniseries, including
The Ship, a six-part series that looks at history through 18th Century
and 20th Century recordings; and TR and the Birth of a
, a four part miniseries that examines Theodore Roosevelt.

On the A&E front, the network will extend its 15-year-old
Biography programming brand in an effort to give the series a new

New series extensions include TV-Ography, which will feature stories
behind television's favorite series and stars; Street Stories, which
looks at America's most famous streets; and Bio Year, which focuses on
the major stories of years past.

Later this year, the network will also launch Bio in a Movie, which
will feature biographies of actors and actresses interspersed within network
telecasts of movies in which those actors appear.

A&E will also expand its successful Investigative Reports special,
Cold Case Files, into a weekly series, while producing new episodes of
documentary series Minute by Minute.

The network said it would also premiere five new original movies in

In addition, A&E will debut several original documentaries next season,
including Old Friends, a look at the 95-year friendship of three women,
produced by actress Julia Roberts, as well as three specials from Cosmos Studios
-- The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt, Solar Sail and Voyager --
network officials said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.