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Not just 'new to you'

Networks offer new productions to keep TV audience engaged

Web posted on: Friday, June 26, 1998 5:46:37 PM

From Correspondent Ron Tank

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Forget the summer doldrums. From Vegas to virginity, networks are offering plenty of new fare, hoping to tempt viewers into staying tuned during the traditional rerun season.


'Lolita' finds a home

U.S. movie distributors wouldn't touch the European-made "Lolita," but Showtime will give viewers a glimpse of the tale of forbidden love between a middle-aged man and a young girl.

"I just wanted to try and get a sense of Nabokov's novel, which is so extraordinary," director Adrian Lyne said of his movie.

"The Rat Pack"

HBO takes up 'Rat Pack'

Another controversial movie heads to HBO. In spite of criticism from some members of Frank Sinatra's family, "The Rat Pack" chronicles the Vegas years of Old Blue Eyes and his cronies.

"These guys really loved each other. They had a great time together. They were helping Kennedy get elected. They were shooting a movie. They were all friends," said actor Ray Liotta, who plays Sinatra in the tale.

"America's Most Endangered 1998"

Noah Wylie at History Channel

"ER's" Noah Wylie hosts "America's Most Endangered 1998," a History Channel special on efforts to preserve places of historical significance. In past years, the show has featured Antietam Battlefield, Block Island's Southeast Light, Montana's Virginia City, Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and the last remaining McDonald's in Downey, California. "It's really amazing what they're doing," Wylie said. "Every time they've chosen a site, through public awareness and their campaigning, they've managed to save it."
"Any Day Now"

New series also coming

While the networks are relying mostly on reruns, cable channels are hoping to grab new viewers by running original programming. "Until the networks have a set strategy where they can really say to the viewer, 'we're on, we haven't turned out the lights,' I just see (audiences) moving greater and greater to cable," said Ted Johnson of TV Guide.

Among the 30 new series on their way to the small screen is the Lifetime drama "Any Day Now."

But summer is also a testing ground for network series, like the CBS comedy "The Simple Life," starring Judith Light as a Martha Stewart-like character, and even talk shows. Magic Johnson and Howie Mandel launched theirs earlier this summer, while Jackie Collins' show is still to debut.

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