Cablers Pitch Partridges, Wooldoor-Sockbat

Cable programmers are unveiling heaps of new shows for TV critics in Los Angeles this week, but here are a couple of reality shows that particularly floated our boats.

VH1 will launch a seven-episode series, In Search Of the Partridge Family, Sept. Sept. 5 at 9 p.m.

In the American Idol-like contest, the cable channel will travel to Orlando, New York, Minneapolis and L.A. in search of people who act, sing and look like the cast of the original 1960's-70's TV show.

Eight finalists for each of the four principals, Danny, Keith, Laurie and Shirley Partridge, will be flown to L.A. (or in the case of natives at the L.A.tryout, driven, we assume) where they will compete until a penultimate vote-off show between the two finalists for each character.

Danny Bonaduce, David Cassidy (Keith) and Shirley Jones of the original cast will be "prominently featured," and there will be judges, though it is not clear whether or not the stars will be those judges.

The seventh episode will feature the winners performing as a band for the first time, plus a kicker. The group will begin rehearsals for a VH1 sitcom that will debut in the late fall.

Then there's Comedy Central's Drawn Together, which it is billing as the first animated "reality" show. The show features animated characters from various genres picked to live in a house together.

The send-up of reality and animation, which premieres Oct. 27, will put together a group of archetypal animated characters, i.e., super heros, cute animal, trading card mini-monster, Saturday morning "whatchamacallit," etc. The characters include Captain Hero, Ling-Ling, Spanky Ham, Foxxy Love, Toot Braunstein and Wooldoor-Sockbat.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.