Who Loves USA, Baby?

USA Network -- which wrapped production on a Kojak telepic starring Ving Rhames in August -- is putting its remake of the detective drama into series form.

NBC Universal Cable’s general-entertainment network will use the two-hour original movie as the series premiere to a nine-week original run, according to USA and Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer. Production on the series begins in Toronto in January.

In the telefilm, Rhames’ Kojak hunts down a serial killer who continues to puzzle New York City detectives by targeting prostitutes with young children. After visiting a crime scene where he meets a victim’s children left without their mother, Kojak is overcome with anger and compassion, and he vows to personally avenge the killings, USA officials said.

USA’s Kojak is executive-produced by Rhames andTom Thayer (A&E Network's The Great Gatsby).

Kojak is a perfect USA series,” Hammer said in a prepared statement. “The main character is a true American original, a crime-solver with an incredible mix of charm, street smarts and uncanny intuition. And in the hands of the great Ving Rhames, this is definitely not your father's Kojak.”

Telly Savalas starred as the streetwise police detective in the CBS series that ran from 1973-78.