LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association has released its schedule for the cable porition of its upcoming summer press tour. During these sessions the cable networks, among other things, promote their future projects and hold panels to discuss them.
Here's a breakdown of what to expect during the three-day period including official descriptions of some of the projects being showcased:
WEDNESDAY, JULY 21
8:00-9:00 - CSTV: College Sports Television
9:00-9:45 - ESPN
Hustle (Premieres September 25, 2004) - Directed by Hollywood icon Peter Bogdanovich, an ESPN original movie based on the findings of Major League Baseball�s Dowd Report chronicling the gambling life of Pete Rose during the mid- to-late 1980s.
3 (Premieres December 11, 2004) - Barry Pepper, one of Hollywood�s most accomplished young actors, will play the role of the late Dale Earnhardt in ESPN�s original, made-for-television movie, based on the life and career of the auto racing legend.
10:00-12:30 - Turner Broadcasting (CNN News Group, TBS Superstation, TNT)
Gilligan�s Island (TBS Superstation, Premieres December 2004)
The Wool Cap (TNT, Premieres October 2004)
12:30-1:30 - Sundance Channel
Tanner '04 (working title) - This spin-off from Tanner '88 stars Cynthia Nixon as Jack Tanner's daughter, Alex, who is now a documentary filmmaker. Written by Garry Trudeau and directed by Robert Altman, the story centers on Alex who is making a film about what it takes to run for the office of President and the toll it takes on those who lose. As in the original, the approach of this three, 30-minute episode miniseries blurs the boundary between the factual and the dramatic and political candidates from the present day as well as those from the recent past. The production will end in July at the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston, and features appearances by original Tanner '88 cast members Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, and Matt Malloy.
1:45-4:45 - Showtime
Dead Like Me (New Season Premieres July 25, 2004) - The quirky and darkly comedic series that takes a fresh look at life, death and the afterlife returns for its second season with 15 new episodes. Laced with edgy humor and irreverence, the series centers on an unfocused young woman who died suddenly and has been assigned to a team of grim reapers who aren't so grim.
American Candidate (Premieres August 1, 2004) - This 10-episode, one-hour reality series from Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler attempts to identify one individual who has the qualifications and qualities to be President of the United States. Ten contestants from all walks of life will face-off against each other in a series of challenges designed to test their presidential mettle and to show viewers what really goes on in the making of a presidential candidate.
!HUFF (Premieres November 7, 2004) - A psychiatrist who lacks balance and clarity in his own life is the subject of this new one-hour drama series. Emmy-winner Hank Azaria stars as Dr. Craig "Huff" Huffstodt, a sincere, yet often hapless, therapist whose world can sometimes be as bizarre as that of his patients'.
Dave Chappelle Comedy Special (Premieres Labor Day Weekend) - SHOWTIME presents its second stand-up special of the year as the network continues to return to its comedy roots. Taped before a standing-room-only live audience in San Francisco, the multi-talented Dave Chappelle presents his special brand of humor.
5:00-6:30 - A&E Networks (The History Channel, A&E Network)
First Invasion: The War of 18I2 (The History Channel, Premieres September 2004) - The War of 1812 was named for one year but took nearly three to fight. Its main cause was no longer a factor before the first shot was fired � and its most famous battle was fought after the peace treaty was signed. The war started just 30 years after the closing days of the Revolution, and it played a crucial role in establishing America's direction and identity. The "second war for independence" inspired the national anthem and allowed founding fathers to make way for a new generation of common people with uncommon courage, with new heroes, new leaders, and the real birth of the foundation of America.
Dog The Bounty Hunter (A&E Network, Premieres August 31, 2004) - A new series that captures the wild life of legendary bounty hunter Duane �Dog� Chapman and his brood.
Growing Up Gotti (A&E Network, Premieres August 2, 2004) - A new reality show chronicling the life of Victoria Gotti, famous daughter of John Gotti, successful magazine editor and mother of three.
The True Story of Brooke Ellison (A&E Network, Premieres December 2004) - Directed by Christopher Reeve, this film is a miraculous true story about a young girl who becomes a quadriplegic at age eleven, but with her family's help returns to school, and goes on to graduate with highest honors from Harvard University.
THURSDAY, JULY 22
8:00-9:00 - (TR!O)
9:00-9:45 - Court TV
10:00-12:00 - Discovery Networks (Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health Channel, TLC)
Austin Stevens: Snakemaster (Animal Planet) - Herpetologist and photographer Austin Stevens is all too familiar with close encounters of the reptilian kind, unrivaled in his ability to get face-to-fang. Now, this adventurer extraordinaire fulfills a lifelong dream to go beyond cobras and anacondas, trekking the globe on the trail of the world�s most dangerous animals. Each episode is filled with epic adventure and builds to a heart-stopping moment when Austin�s quest ends in a meeting that could quickly turn deadly.
Mythbusters (Discovery Channel) - This series returns this fall with all-new episodes that put urban legends to the test. Will jumping just before impact in a plummeting elevator save an occupant�s life? What home remedies work to banish a skunk�s awful scent? Does quicksand really exist? Hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman use science, ingenuity, special effects and one very exhausted crash test dummy to examine which well-known myths are based in truth, and which are made to be busted.
No Opportunity Wasted (Discovery Channel) - What if you had 72 hours, $3,000 and the opportunity to pursue your life-long dream? In each episode of this new 13-part series, renowned television host and adventurer Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) approaches unsuspecting participants, who have submitted a life-long dream they just haven�t had the time, ambition, or means to accomplish, and gives them a rare chance to take life by the horns. Whether it�s an accomplishment of facing a fear, taking a leap of faith or challenging oneself to new heights, participants from all walks of life take the plunge and start living life now.
Gift of Life (Discovery Health) - This six-part series chronicles the ultimate �gift of life� that an organ transplant represents, exploring the complex web of logistics, surgery and emotion involved in the world of organ procurement and transplantation. Each episode chronicles life affirming transplant surgery, as well as the human stories that are part of the daily operation of one of America�s largest and oldest organ procurement organizations known as the Gift of Life Donor Program.
Taking Care of Business (TLC) - Behind every storefront lies the hopes, hard work and life savings of someone who�s risked it all trying to live the American dream. But behind the counter, sometimes it doesn�t all add up to success. In this series, a team of three business gurus provide struggling start-ups with the tools to achieve small business success. Equipped with expertise, fresh ideas and investment money, TLC�s team of advisors work to turn around businesses in trouble and give them new life.
12:00-1:00 - BBC America
1:15-4:15 - HBO
My Uncle Berns - Lindsay Crystal chronicles her 89-year-old great uncle's remarkable journey through the 20th century in a poignant documentary, celebrating this accomplished artist, gallery owner and storyteller. Panel to include:
Diary of a Political Tourist - After her groundbreaking first film, Journeys with George, Alexandra Pelosi sets out on the Democratic campaign trail to follow presidential wannabes and find out what it takes to run for President of the United States. A humorous travelogue of a political tourist, Pelosi taped material with a digital camera in hand over a two-year period.
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers - Academy Award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush stars in this intimate look at one of the world's most prolific and gifted comedic actors whose brilliant, idiosyncratic gift for mimicry and invention made him an international cultural icon.
Entourage - This new comedy series, from executive producer Mark Wahlberg, follows the life of a young star and his buddies from Queens as they share the highs and lows of life in the fast lane of Hollywood.
Family Bonds - As tight and tough as they come, the Evangelista clan is just like any other hard-working American family, except for one major difference -- they are a family of bail bondsmen and bounty hunters. This ten-part, half-hour real-life series from filmmaker Steve Cantor reveals the day-to-day dramas of this outrageous and loving family, both on the job and off, as they confront the dangers of county hunting and the challenges of family life.
4:30-6:45 - NBC Universal Cable
FRIDAY, JULY 23
8:00-9:00 - On Demand: Only Cable Can
9:00-10:00 - Lifetime
10:15-1:30 - MTV Networks (Comedy Central, LOGO, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, TV Land/Nick at Nite, VH1)
I Can Do That (Comedy Central, Premieres October 2004) - Wanda Sykes is convinced that she can do almost any job. In each episode of this reality series a scripted introductory incident presents Wanda with a type of job to learn. The remainder of the episode is dedicated to Wanda learning how to do the job from an expert.
Drawn Together (Comedy Central, Premieres October 20, 2004) - Eight fictional animated characters, based on recognizable genres in animation (e.g. a fairytale princess, a lowbrow superhero, a black-and-white heartthrob from the 1920's, and an Asian trading card monster), are picked to live in a house and have their lives taped.
Ned�s Declassified School Survival Guide/Unfabulous (Nickelodeon) - Nickelodeon will present its new TEENick live-action series, including Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, a comedy offering first-person, insider tips on how to survive middle school; Unfabulous starring 13-year-old Emma Roberts as a �tween who navigates life using her own music as a compass; and a comedy (title TBA) starring All That cast member Jamie Lynn Spears as an independent young teen attending a co-ed boarding school.
Glory Days (Spike TV, Premieres October 15, 2004) - How does an athlete maintain his superstardom in the super-competitive, high-octane sports world? This weekly one-hour series looks at the lives of America's most dynamic athletes off the playing field, and how they overcome challenges in their personal and professional lives. Dan Klein is senior producer for the series. His credits include HBO specials, A City on Fire: The Story of the '68 Detroit Tigers and Rebels of Oakland: The A's. the Raiders, the 70s.
In Search of The Partridge Family (VH1, Premieres September 5, 2004) - VH1 is gearing up to cast an all-new Partridge Family. A seven episode reality series, it will consist of an hour-long special, followed by live broadcasts in which America votes for their choices for the new cast of the The Partridge Family. The winners will then go on to star in a scripted television sitcom pilot for VH1 premiering this fall.
And You Don't Stop: 25 Years of Hip-Hop History (VH1, Premieres October 4, 2004) - Hip hop has gone mainstream. Twenty-five years ago, hip hop music was thought of as a passing phase. In its first-ever endeavor, VH1 presents a five-night, five-part documentary, with each night focusing on a seminal event or moment in hip hop -- from its humble beginnings to its present-day effects on American culture. Featured will be original interviews from the pioneers who broke the ground for rap music, along with the newer artists who are making the music what it is today.
1:30-2:30 - GSN
The American Dream Derby (Premieres Fall 2004) - The first reality show set in the area of thoroughbred horseracing.
Celebrity Blackjack (Premieres August 9, 2004) - Featuring the finalists and ultimate winner.
2:45-3:30 - E! Entertainment
Dr. 90210 - E!'s new reality series takes you as close as you can get inside the offices and homes of high profile Beverly Hills plastic surgeons in its new weekly half-hour reality series. Discover the elite world of cosmetic surgery in Beverly Hills where having the best plastic surgeon is just as important finding the right super agent and power broker. The series offers a unique glimpse into top plastic surgeons' day-to-day life, and at the same time, viewers discover the risks these patients take as they go on an emotional journey that puts their very lives on the operating table.
Scream Play - From the towering window ledge walk in The Bourne Identity and The Mummy's coffin of cockroaches to Rocky's raw egg breakfast concoction and the deep-sea dive in Waterworld, Scream Play double-dog-dares fans to take on some of entertainment's most challenging scenes, all in the name of winning prizes. In each one-hour episode, three teams of two contestants are put to the test when they are dared to successfully complete a challenge inspired by a famous entertainment scene. Teams will be eliminated along the way and the last team standing will receive a cash prize.
3:45�4:30 - ABC Cable Network Group
4:45-5:30 - AMC
MonsterFest - This year marks AMC�s 8th annual MonsterFest extravaganza.