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AMC, ABC News Team for Doc Series

Continuing to boost its documentary fare, AMC is teaming with ABC News to develop a series of original films focusing on entertainment-industry issues.

First on the docket: Bleep: Censoring Hollywood, a one-hour look at the controversy and legality surrounding the practice of sanitizing the DVD versions of popular films to block potentially questionable content for viewers. It will debut on April 26.

The deal calls for AMC and ABC News to produce five documentaries and gives the cable network a yearlong exclusive TV window.

“It was a natural for us to call ABC News to see if we could form this partnership and come up with maybe three or four subjects a year that would be controversial, provocative and interesting,” said AMC vice president of documentaries Jessica Shreeve.

ABC News Productions executive producer and general manager Lisa Zeff said in a statement that the partnership “is an opportunity to tell timely and provocative stories about an industry with seemingly limitless viewer appeal.”

A second, yet-to-be-themed documentary will air later this year, with three to four films scheduled for 2006.

“We want to try to keep [future subject matters] open and be more responsive to news events,” Shreeve said.

The deal is the latest move in AMC’s cultivation of the documentary genre. The network recently announced Daniel Anker’s Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust, Robert Stone’s Hollywood Vietnam and Barak Goodman’s Good Cop, Bad Cop.

“We’re developing big, clip-driven documentaries that tell a story about a particular film genre,” said Shreeve. “The documentaries will be surrounded by films that make sense for the documentary.”

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.