TV Land, Nick at Nite Go Original

In a major departure from their programming-acquisition strategy, TV Land and Nick at Nite Tuesday released a slate of original shows and specials to supplement their schedule of classic sitcom shows.

Among the new skeins in development for TV Land are Living in TV Land, which takes a look at a day in the life of classic TV stars; TV Land Real Characters,a "mockumentary" series of famous TV characters; and Table Read, a series that reunites the casts from popular television series in reunions set around script readings from popular episodes.

Other shows on tap for the network include TheDavid Steinberg Project, a Fernwood Tonight-type look at Hollywood from the producer of Home Box Office's Curb Your Enthusiasm; Hello Out There, an original comedy developed internally about the behind-the-scenes antics of running a classic-TV network; and TV Land Collectibles, an Antiques Road Show-meets-classic-TV-memorabilia show.

TV Land will air in March its second annual TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV special, as well as several new specials including All Access Pass: The TV Land Awards, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the network’s inaugural awards show, and TV Land Moguls, a six-part, Merv Griffin-hosted special that chronicles television's pioneering producers.

A Happy Days Reunionspecialand a six-hour miniseries examining television’s most extraordinary moments are also queued up for the network in 2004.

On the Nick at Nite front, the late-night arm of kids’ network Nickelodeon will build on its previously announced Bill Cosby-produced animated series, Fatherhood, with a number of original projects, including Alf's Hit Talk Show, featuring the popular 1980s TV alien character; Zen & Buster, a Kelsey Grammer-produced vehicle about Hollywood life as seen through the eyes of dogs; a new version of classic series Kids Say the Darndest Things;and Exploding Baloney,a hidden-camera show that features parents and teachers playing good-natured practical jokes on kids.

Also in production is for the network is Return Engagement, a comedy about retired actors who inherit a Melrose Place-type apartment complex; Take 2, a family sitcom about a regressing classic-TV-star-turned-psychologist; My Man Marty, showcasing a lost, ahead-of-its-time sitcom that finds a slot on TV; and The Tommy Lynch Project,a behind-the-scenes comedy about a hidden-camera dating show.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.