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TBS, A&E Join Original-Film Field

Pasadena, Calif. -- TBS Superstation and A&E Network
both have original movies on their drawing boards, network officials said last week.

TBS -- like its sister service, Turner Network Television
-- plans to begin production on original movies this year, probably in the action genre.
And A&E is interested in doing both original American mystery and Biography

'These films will be going into production within the
next year, and we'll start rolling them out in the late 1998-99 season,' said
Delia Fine, A&E's vice president of film, drama and performing-arts programming.

TBS and A&E announced their plans at the Television
Critics Association winter tour here, where Lifetime Television also said it is increasing
its number of original movies by two this year, to 14 from 12.

TBS has named James Head vice president of original
programming to help oversee its original-movie effort, said TBS president Bill Burke.
Atlanta-based Head will be responsible for the development and creation of original movies
for TBS, which converted from a superstation to a basic-cable network Dec. 31. Head joined
TBS in 1995 as vice president of programming operations, overseeing the schedule of
originals. He reports to Bill Cox, TBS' senior vice president of programming.

TBS said it will air four original movies in 1999,
beginning production this year. The network declined to say how much how been budgeted for

As for A&E, 'Clearly, you're not going to see
an entire life in 94 minutes,' Fine said of its proposed Biography movies.
'You're going to see a chapter in a life, as opposed to our documentary series,
which kind of takes it from womb to tomb.'

During Lifetime's presentation, president Douglas
McCormick talked about the increase in original movies. In April, Lifetime's
made-for-TV movie crop includes Oklahoma City: A Survivor's Story, starring
Kathy Baker.

Lifetime is also launching Lifetime Movie Network this
year, mainly destined for digital carriage, and that network will air its original movies
and other fare.