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Nick at Nite to Develop Original Series

Nick at Nite will revisit original programming with the December debut of a new animated series, based on actor Bill Cosby's best-selling book Fatherhood.Fatherhood will be the first of several original projects that vintage programming networks Nick at Nite and TV Land will launch over the next year in an effort to extend their brands and draw new viewers, said TV Land and Nick at Nite vice president of development and production Sal Maniaci.

In 1991 and 1992, Nick produced Hi Honey, I'm Home, which aired on ABC and later on Nick at Nite.

Nick at Nite has ordered six episodes of the comedy series Fatherhood, featuring the voice talents of David Alan Grier as a father who has to deal with the challenges, lessons and confusion of family life.

The series would join The Cosby Show
and Kids Say the Darndest Things
as Cosby-related vehicles airing on Nickelodeon's evening and overnight programming outlet. The former is the highest-rated show within Nick at Nite's 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. window, averaging 670,000 adults 18 to 49 since its March 2002 debut.

The 30-minute Fatherhood
will most likely debut in December, at 9 p.m.

"We've done some background checks and found that viewers want their reruns, but they also would give us permission to offer something different in the 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. time period," Maniaci said. "We sell to adults as of 9 p.m., but there are still kids watching."

Maniaci is currently developing several projects — including another animated show, a sitcom and a reality series — and hopes to debut at least one of them within the next year.

"We'll always be an acquisitions channel, but my goal here is to complement those acquisitions with a sprinkling of originals," he said. "We might do a one-hour block of originals from 9 to 10 on a couple of nights."

TV Land's original programming, meanwhile, will be based on classic TV shows. Both TV Land Legends: The 60 Minutes Interviews
and the TV Land Awards
will return a for second season. Maniaci said several original projects are in development, but would not specify.

"[Originals] are more about bringing awareness to the networks and telling Madison Ave. that we're doing different things," Maniaci said. "The awards show on TV Land brought excitement to the network because it was new, and I'd like to do that on the Nick at Nite front as well."