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Cable Channels Jumping Into the Fall

October 01, 2000|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cable channels usually float new series during the summer months when the broadcast networks turn to reruns. But this fall, American Movie Classics, MTV and the Discovery Channel are diving into the fray with alternative fare. There will also be a diverse array of specials ranging from former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in "Peter Pan," to a new music awards show on VH1, and then mummies take center stage on both the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel. Discovery also plans an inside peek at the first permanent space station. Here's a sampling of what's on tap on cable this fall.

A&E

"Peter Pan": Cathy Rigby reprises her Tony Award-nominated role as the boy who refuses to grow up in this musical adaptation of the James Barrie play and novel. Oct. 8.

"The Competition": Weekly series explores the world of contests, games and pageants. December.

AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS

"Blocked: The Writer's Experience in Hollywood": Carrie Fisher hosts a special chronicling the creative differences between writing a novel and a screenplay. November.

"The Lot": After a tryout last year, AMC is offering 13 episodes of this circa 1930s series set on a movie back lot. Jonathan Frakes, Stephanie Faracy and Sara Botsford star. December.

" 'The Fly' Papers: The Buzz on Hollywood's Scariest Insect": Leonard Nimoy hosts this chronicle of the films that were based on the short story, "The Fly." December.

ANIMAL PLANET

"Parklife: Africa": Series explores daily life at South Africa's Kruger National Park. Premiered.

"Awesome Pawsome": A year in the life of four Bengal tiger cubs. Nov. 25.

BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION

"106 & Park": Free & AJ host an interactive series featuring BET viewers' vote for the day's top videos. Premiered.

"BET News with Ed Gordon": A look at top stories and key issues from the African American perspective. Premiered.

CINEMAX

"The Target Shoots First": Diary of corporate life focuses on the comic experiences of filmmaker and NYU grad Chris Wilcha. November.

DISCOVERY CHANNEL

"The Prosecutors: In Pursuit of Justice": A 13-part series that follows the cases of prosecuting attorneys who have put nefarious criminals in prison. Premiered.

"Desert Mummies of Peru": Benjamin Bratt narrates a documentary about newly unearthed mummies in Chiribaya on Peru's coastal plains. Oct. 8.

"Pet Love": Documentary examines the bonds between pets and their owners. Oct. 16.

"Rage to Revenge: The Science of Violence": Forrest Sawyer anchors this special that examines the biological and physiological responses to hatred. Nov. 15.

"Sabretooth": A paleo-detective story about the most successful killing machine of the prehistoric era. Nov. 27.

"Inside the Space Station": Premiering in 149 countries, this special offers an inside look at the first permanent residence in space. Dec. 10.

E! ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION

"Women of the WCW": Special follows the exploits of three young wrestlers as they prepare and compete in the world of championship wrestling. Nov. 5.

"Holiday With the Stars": The stars reveal how they celebrate the holidays. The special also drops in on the sets of TV shows for holiday episodes. Nov. 26.

FOX FAMILY

"The Fearing Mind": Drama series from Jim Henson Television explores the mind of a suspense novelist, Harry Van Gorkum, who lives in New England with his family. Oct. 21.

"The Scariest Places on Earth": For five nights the reality-based special offers personal accounts of the supernatural and investigations of the paranormal. It also includes nightly updates from a family who agreed to spend a week at a haunted English castle. Oct. 23-27.

HBO

"Curb Your Enthusiasm": Comedy series follows the minutiae in the life of writer/director/producer Larry David of "Seinfeld" fame. Oct. 15.

"Hate.com: Extremists on the Internet": Southern Poverty Law Center co-founder Morris Dees narrates this documentary examining how the gospel of hate is preached on the Internet. Oct. 23.

"Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks": Denzel Washington helps produce this portrait of the African American renaissance man who directed such films as "Shaft." November.

HGTV

"Old Homes Restored": Sean Pratt hosts a weekly series about restoration and renovation projects. Tuesday.

"Fantasy Open House": This series tours the spacious homes which are almost never open to public sightseeing. Claire Berger hosts. Friday.

HISTORY CHANNEL

"A History of Britain": Six-hour special chronicles the early history of England. Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

"Founding Fathers": Four-part miniseries focuses on the patriotic legends of early American history. Nov. 27-30.

THE LEARNING CHANNEL

"Code Blue: New Orleans": A 13-part series delving into the emergency department of New Orleans' Charity Hospital. Premiered.

"Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot": Documentary about the search for the mysterious hairy beast said to stalk the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Oct. 28.

"Why Doctors Make Mistakes": Four-hour documentary illustrating how easy it is for doctors to make grave errors. Nov. 19-20.

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