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A&E Orders Two Pilots

A&E Network ordered pilots of two scripted series from its development slate, The Beast and The Cleaner.

No shooting schedule is set for the cast-contingent pilots, but network executives have said for some time that they are aiming to get an original show on TV in the next year. The pair join previously announced pilot Danny Fricke as contenders for that slot.

Beast, from Sony Pictures Television, follows an offbeat FBI veteran who trains a new partner while he is being chased by a secret Internal Affairs team. The show is executive-produced by Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl for Scarlet Fire Films (New Amsterdam). William Rothko and Vincent Angel will co-executive produce.

Cleaner, from CBS Paramount Television, is based on the true story of an interventionist who dedicates his life to helping other conquer their demons after conquering his own. The show is written and executive-produced by Robert Munic (For Life) and Jonathan Prince (Cane). Jay Silverman and Warren Boyd will executive produce.

"We are excited to advance to the next stage in bringing new original scripted series back to A&E," senior vice president of drama programming Tana Jamieson said.

At its upfront in May, A&E Television Networks said it would invest more than $600 million in new programming across its cable networks, up from the $500 million it said it would spend the year before.

A&E executive VP and general manager Bob DeBitetto has said that the network aims to put at least one original drama into production to debut in 2008 as a companion to its acquired series, which include The Sopranos. That would complete a three-step plan the network has been following for the past few years: lowering its median age through reality shows, buying up pricey off-network dramas like The Sopranos and CSI: Miami and, finally, adding original dramas of its own.

Earlier this year, the network announced its forthcoming four-hour miniseries, The Andromeda Strain, which will be the second adaptation of the Michael Crichton novel. Other series on the development slate announced at the upfront included Homestead, a show about Los Angeles cops who live in the neighborhoods they police (Fox Television Studios); and Takedown, a thriller about U.S. marshals chasing fugitives (Warner Horizon Television).